5 Ways Parent Trap Changed My Life


by Emily Schorr Lesnick

The Parent Trap (1998) is the film that has impacted my life more than any other piece of cinema.  I love this Disney classic not because of some nostalgia-driven, ironic pursuit, but because it has truly permeated my consciousness and molded me into the woman I am today.  Beyond my childhood fantasy of having a twin (who could still be out there…which is why I go to Camp Walden for Girls every summer), The Parent Trap helped me transition through puberty and into adulthood with the same grace as its star, Lindsay Lohan.

1. L is for the Way You Look at Me. Because my parents played an excess of showtunes, I have two films to thank for my introduction to musical pop culture: Mrs. Doubtfire and The Parent Trap. The latter film features Beatles songs, George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone,” Nat King Cole, and that song about believing in magic.  I have the soundtrack, and I find it’s a great supplement to doing homework, cooking, and practicing secret handshakes.

2. Girls, Girls, Girls. While The Parents Trap is technically a remake of the 1961 film starring Hayley Mills, the screenplay is uniquely crafted by none other than Nancy Meyers, director of It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give, posterchild for #whitegirlproblems and mid-life crises. My friend shared a game with me where she makes up her own titles for Nancy Meyers movies.  Some examples: When One Door Opens and Nothing But a Number. While the protagonists of The Parent Trap are much younger than Meyers’s target demographic, let’s not forget that the whole “trap” in question is to reunite old flames Nick Parker and Elizabeth James.

The Parent Trap

3. October 11- Twinies Annie and Hallie share allergies to the same foods (strawberries) and, oddly!, a hankering for Oreos with peanut butter! As the Jews sing on Passover, dayenu, “it would have been enough”.  Dayenu if The Parent Trap had simply introduced me to this delight.

4. The Pranks! If I ever dare you to go skinny-dipping, beware I will steal your clothes.

5. The Isolation Cabin. When the twins’ animosity boils over in one-too-many industrial-sized-vats-of-chocolate pranks, they are marched to The Isolation Cabin to work out their issues.  Much cooler premise than time out.  I hope to use it on my own kids someday.

The Parent Trap is a movie that deserves revisiting.  It deserves its own cult fanfare and midnight showings.  It deserves my undying gratitude for shaping me into the girl who was “about to enter my crazy mixed up teenage years” (as Lindsay Lohan predicted for both me and herself) and into a mature woman with a penchant for Oreos and peanut butter.

Emily Schorr Lesnick is a recent graduate of Macalester College, where she studied gender, identity, and comedy.  Her writing has been featured on Splitsider You can follow her on Twitter @ESchorrLesnick.

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