Children’s movies are so entertaining for a variety of audiences because they tend to use fun music, exciting special effects, and quirky jokes. However, they often present messages that are very mature for young viewers and values that they cannot yet relate to. Producers typically steer clear of inappropriate scenes, but they definitely include deeper thoughts that are often too advanced for children to even pick up on.
There are a number of powerful appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos. The film gains its credibility first by calling attention to the original story. The plot is already well known and presents a very unique situation of twins realizing they were separated via their parents’ divorce. Plus, it’s family friendly, especially little girl friendly, with all of the fun camp traditions and sweet family camaraderie. Whenever I see this movie now, I always feel very emotional too. I love the connection between the two sisters, and it is so enjoyable to watch their journey as a family coming together. I also mourn at the downfall of Lindsay Lohan, but that is another issue! The music also helps to set the scene, contributing even further to the pathos appeal. For example, the Beatles’ song Here Comes the Sun plays when Hallie met her mother and experienced London for the first time. It helps to create a particular mood (Understanding Movies, 442) and really adds to the international charm and elite feeling of a world-class city. The logos appeal is probably the weakest because none of the actors are extremely famous. Also, because it is a kids’ movie, most viewers probably don’t know of the original version of the film.
One very interesting argument that was somewhat subtle came with the presence of Meredith Blake. She is Nick Parker’s girlfriend who he intended to marry until he unexpectedly reunited with his daughters’ mother, Elizabeth. She is very sexy, almost reminiscent of a Marilyn Monroe type of figure with her figure, full lips, blonde curls, and poolside diva behavior. See, images themselves can make very strong arguments (Everything’s an Argument, 450). Nick does not choose her in the end though. He chooses his twin girls’ mother who is beautiful but mature, motherly, and plainer than Meredith. Typically, the so-called nice one finishes last. Sex appeal is praised more than character, it seems like, but not in this movie. True love prevails is the lesson that we get.
Something that stands out to me as problematic is the way the story ended. It was very cliché as all of the characters seemed to live happily ever after together. This might be hard to see for children who have divorced parents, perhaps giving them false hope that they will actually end up together. Sometimes this happens, but it is not realistic. However, the fact that Nick Parker and Elizabeth James realize that they never really fell out of love and decide to get married all over again implies to children that this is how life should be. But that ending is what makes it a movie. I think people watch movies in order to forget about real world problems and solutions, instead letting these made up stories and fantasies numb their own pains with laughter and smiles. The movie successfully gives people what they want in life, but not necessarily the reality of what they have. Naturally, humans search for what they perceive will make them happy, and a good family life is one of the aspects (Image Based Culture, 2).
Still, there are incredibly touching takeaway messages throughout the movie. Do You Believe in Magic, one of the songs on the soundtrack, implies that it is important for young people to have dreams. Twins Hallie and Annie wholeheartedly believed in the power of family and true love, ultimately dreaming for their parents to get back together. Family is a main theme and that reaches everyone. Everyone has a specific ideology or way of looking at the world, but family is very common among a broad spectrum of cultures (Understanding Movies, 420). When all is said and done, the Parent Trap deserves three/three from me. It centers on the best kind of love and thus turns out positive and appealing to many people.