When was the last time you watched The Parent Trap, the Disney film featuring double-trouble Lindsay Lohan and a deep current of subtext that provides an exhausting amount of confusing messages for young women? There are enough issues that actually cataloging all of the f*cked up things in The Parent Trap is almost impossible. It’s definitely one of the more disturbing kid's movies of the '90s, and the WTF Parent Trap plot devices are only the beginning of the proof that the film may impart some inappropriate lessons.
The disturbing things about The Parent Trap range from the inaccurate information that the film gives about medical procedures to its general lack of legal knowledge and classist underpinnings, which attempt to teach children to never reach for anything better than the life they’ve been handed. Out of all the dark films for children that exist, The Parent Trap may be one of the most nefarious films that’s ever been created. Where else can you find a movie that pits women against each other for the love of a creep, while having to fend off a butler who may or may not be trying to rope his boss into a particular sexual fetish?
You may love The Parent Trap, and that’s fine, but if you’re ever going to show this movie to children, you should probably know a thing or two about the messages you’re about to inundate them with.
That Custody Arrangement Is A Therapist's DreamPhoto: Buena Vista Pictures
Who in their right mind believes that it's okay to split up a pair of twins before they're even born? Especially when both families involved are exorbitantly wealthy? This isn't a Lifetime movie where someone gives birth in a crack den and has to choose between a twin and a sweet sweet crack rock; this is a Disney movie.
How hard would it have been to work out an agreement that would allow the two girls to grow up together? Not only is their current arrangement Draconian, but it's also definitely going to instill a lifelong distrust of their parents.
The Parent Trap Introduced Hazing To An Entire GenerationPhoto: Buena Vista Pictures
If you grew up in the '90s, then you might remember a slew of hazing deaths that began to be more widely reported than they had been in the past. With that in mind, why in the world would Nancy Meyers and the rest of the screenwriting team think it was okay to make a film where an 11-year-old girl, after losing a high stakes poker game, is made to jump into a lake naked while the rest of the girls steal her clothes?
This hazing ritual is mostly harmless, but it normalizes this kind of behavior and tells its audience of young women that it's okay to put other people through the ringer without worrying about the repercussions of their actions. Yikes!
The Children Have No Actual OversightPhoto: Buena Vista Pictures
Even though these child millionaires have had a truly strange upbringing, for whatever reason, no one seems to care about what they do on a day-to-day basis. Whether they're at camp - where there seems to be no more than two counselors - or in London, where an 11-year-old girl can just run out of her posh home, down the street, and into a phone booth where she can make a collect call to America, there's no one around to tell these girls no.
In fact, there's so little oversight in their lives that they're able to SWAP LIVES without anyone noticing until the girls get bored of their ruse and give themselves up.
More So Than Anyone, Annie's Entire Life Has Been A LiePhoto: Buena Vista Pictures
There's no doubt that both girls have been given a raw deal in their parent's divorce. But Annie, who was sent to London to live with her mother, was sold a bag of BS from day one. Not only was she raised to believe that she was a proper English lass, but she's also been denied the freedom that a dual citizenship can bestow on someone.
Yes, she can travel internationally for camp, but by raising her as someone she's not, her entire sense of self gets fractured when she finds out the truth. If she doesn't end up in a mental institution by the time she's 15, it'll be a miracle.