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The Parent Trap Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Charming classic has some dated gender roles.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that THE PARENT TRAP is the 1961 movie in which reunited twins (both played by Hayley Mills) join forces to try to reunite their divorced parents. The roles men and women play in relationships are more than a little dated, even as the film was ahead of its time in addressing what was then the touchy subject of divorce. An angry woman slaps a tween girl in the face, and there are comedic pratfalls and some slapstick-style violence. Aside from this, adult characters are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking cocktails and wine. However, The Parent Trap has stood the test of time and remains a charming movie that's entertaining for the entire family.

  • Families can talk about the movie's message. Do comedies often have messages? Do you think the movie remains relevant today, when kids are more knowing and parents divorce openly rather than hiding it, as these parents did?
  • How are issues such as divorce, sex, and puberty addressed in this movie, and how might that compare to a contemporary movie in which tween characters are prominently featured?
  • What are some of the more timeless aspects to this movie released over half a century ago?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: In its own charming (if dated) way, this movie shows the value of cooperation in trying to solve problems.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Susan and Sharon begin as archrivals who grow to love each other when they realize they're identical twins. They employ cooperation and creativity to try to reunite their family.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: An angry woman slaps a tween girl in the face. Aside from this, mild comedic pratfalls and slapstick-style violence. A woman hits a man in the eye. Two girls slap and shove each other at a summer camp dance and fall to the ground while rolling around.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: Very tame hints at sex, as a father thinks his tween daughter is about to have a "birds and the bees" discussion, but she tells him she already knows all about it. A maid thinks a girl is beginning to go through puberty and tries getting her to discuss what she's going through. A father finds a large bra on the doorknob of his bathroom.

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink wine at lunch and dinner, but do not act intoxicated. Cocktails are consumed during an informal gathering between potential future in-laws and a priest, but, again, no one acts intoxicated. Characters smoke cigarettes throughout the film. A man makes reference to his ex-wife by saying that she "married some drunk."

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