Freaky Friday (1976)

Release Date: 1976

Main Cast: Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Dick Van Patten

Director: Gary Nelson

Plot Summary: A mother and daughter exchange places for one magical day. They must learn to act like the other and come to a more developed understanding of each other.

A classic Disney family film, this charming little tale speaks of understanding between the ages. Rather than the usual empathy or even sympathizing between mother and daughter, the plot postulates an actual transfer of the person through some type of magic. wisely kept a mystery.

All action happens on one day- Friday, of course. A young girl named Annabel Andrews (Foster) is working through the usual teen issues, and does not get along terribly well with her mother Ellen (Harris). She is rebellious (although not too much: remember, this is a Disney film) and thinks she knows it all. Of course she doesn’t, and in an amusing parallel shot, she and her mother both have the thought that each had an easier time of it, and wish they could change places. Apparently this sets off the magic, and they do so.

It’s amusing (well, that’s really the point of the movie) to watch the young girl act grown-up and the grown-up act like a kid. I hope the actors had fun with this, and it looks on screen that they did. As you can imagine the plot takes each through various contrivances in order for the audience to be amused to see how they handle the situation. I would have thought that the mother would have an edge in experience (after all, she once was a teen), but there are always things to toss in the air to keep the comedy moving along.

For what it is it is pretty good. Foster does a great job, as usual, and her natural intelligence shines through. As a family film it does work, on principle, and while it may seem a bit dated (if not too innocent), there are worse ways for a family to spend a few hours together.

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