It’s not surprising that many ex-spouses reunite. After a long separation, they meet again and discover the spark is still there. Here’s an example close to home: my husband and I were estranged and divorced from each other for almost two decades, then remarried. In Disney’s The Parent Trap, two identical twins bring their parents back together again. Based on the popular German children’s story by Erich Kastner, this delightful tale was first filmed by Walt Disney in 1961. Starring Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith, and Hayley Mills (in the twin roles), it became a hit movie that year.
In this 1998 version, the twin sisters, separated shortly after birth by the breakup of their parents, are raised on different continents – one by the father (Dennis Quaid), a Napa Valley vineyard owner, and the other by their mother (Natasha Richardson) a London fashion designer. Neither twin knows about her sister’s existence until the two meet at a camp for girls one summer. There they hatch an incredible plot in which identities are switched and parental reconciliation becomes the goal.
Adding spunk and sparkle to the film, newcomer Lindsay Lohan takes over the famous Hayley Mills dual role here. She gives a wonderful performance that draws viewers into the very different worlds of the two sisters. Filmmakers discovered this promising young actress through an exhaustive casting search conducted in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Vancouver, Toronto and London. In addition, open calls were held in New York City and Los Angeles.
Casting director Ilene Starger claims this was the most all-encompassing search she had ever done. Considering Lohan’s outstanding debut performance as well as her excellent work in many movies since then (including Just My Luck, Freaky Friday, A Prairie Home Companion), the search definitely paid off. Here’s hoping grownup Lohan can exorcise her current personal demons and get back on track with her career.
Because The Parent Trap is a very romantic movie at heart, it needs adult leads who generate plenty of chemistry together on screen. Dennis Quaid and the late great Natasha Richardson pass that test with flying colors. It’s such fun watching the tension, humor, and – finally – tenderness involved in various stages of their reconciliation.
Romance, comedy, adventure and charm come through loud and clear in this highly entertaining remake.
(Released by Walt Disney Productions and rated “PG” by MPAA.)
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