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Film / Freaky Friday (1976)

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"I wish I could switch places with her for just one day..."
Annabel and Ellen

Freaky Friday, based on a novel by Mary Rodgers, is a Disney movie starring Jodie Foster as a teenage girl, Annabel, who does not get along with her mother, Ellen (Barbara Harris), to say the least. One Friday the 13th (hence the title), they wish to switch places for one day, causing them to magically trade bodies. Hilarity Ensues, including the now-young mother lusting after her daughter's boyfriend. It eventually transpires that they had subconsciously switched bodies in order to learn An Aesop about the value of family and friendship.

Jodie Foster showed her range by appearing in this Disney family film the same year she also played a teenaged hooker in Taxi Driver. John Astin of The Addams Family fame plays Annabel's father Bill.

There was also a sequel and three remakes, each less similar to the book than the last. The first remake was a 1995 TV movie, with tropes listed below. The story returned to the big screen via a 2003 film that starred Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, with a slightly different plot. The third remake actually started out as a stage musical, until Disney Channel adapted it into a 2018 TV movie.


  • Adaptation Expansion: The novel told in first person the time Annabel spent in her mother's body; the movie also spends time showing experiences Ellen had in her daughter's body.
  • Alliterative Title: Freaky Friday
  • An Aesop: "Be careful what you wish for," obviously, and also "People are often dealing with struggles you know nothing about."
  • The Alcoholic: Mrs. Schmauss, the housekeeper. She insists that Annabel is the one stealing Bill and Ellen's gin, but later she's seen leaving a liquor store in the daytime.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Shows cartoon Annabel and cartoon Ellen switching places and sharing each others' activities.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Ben, although the movie eventually reveals that the reason "Ape Face" keeps pestering Annabel is that he wants her to like him.
  • Artistic License – Sports: During the big field hockey game, the other team repeatedly hits Ellen-as-Annabel with their sticks, with one girl elbowing her in the face, while she's nowhere near the ball. The entire team should have been ejected by that point, but there seems to be no referee apart from the opposing team's coach.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Annabel (the daughter) and Ellen (the mother) both wish at the same time "I wish I could switch places with her, for just one day!" and immediately this happens... only for them to face a very tough day in the other person's body, and to find out the other's life is not so easy as each of them thought.
    • Hilariously played again, when at the end of the movie, they (still switched into each other's bodies at this point) both wish at the same time "I wish I'd had my own body back!"... only for both of them to exclaim "Right body, wrong place !!!"
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Annabel discovers that she is this when meeting some of her teachers while in Ellen's body.
  • Bubblegum Popping: Annabel-as-Ellen does this throughout the movie, like when doing housework and playing in a baseball game in the neighborhood park.
  • Car Skiing: One of the cop cars chasing Annabel does this when zooming through the concrete ditch of the LA River.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one believes that Annabel and Ellen literally aren't themselves today. (It's worth noting that in the 2003 version, neither Tess nor Anna tell anyone else that they've switched bodies, save for Pei-Pei and her mother, who caused the switch in the first place.)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Annabel.
  • Down L.A. Drain: The madcap chase Annabel leads the cops on ends here, as a wild ride through the LA River basin ends with both cop cars getting wrecked.
  • Exact Words: When Annabel and Ellen simultaneously wish for their own bodies back, whatever cosmic force that swap them in the first place grants it...except this time it's their bodies instead of their minds that swap, leaving a child leading a Car Chase and a woman on water skis.
    Ellen: Right body, wrong place!
  • Extremely Short Timespan: One day from breakfast to dinner. Probably couldn't be any longer than this, otherwise the movie would have to answer uncomfortable questions about what would happen when Annabel-as-Ellen has to retire for the night to the bed she shares with Bill. (The 2003 film solved this potentially squicky problem by cutting the father out of the movie by having him be deceased.)
  • Forcibly Formed Physique: A rare live-action example occurs when Annabel leads the police on a wild car chase through a canal (or maybe the Los Angeles River). She manages to drive her car (diagonally!) through a chevron-shaped duct; the police car that follows straight through gets bent into a bizarre shape, as seen here.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Yup. Probably the Trope Codifier, with the Trope Namer being the 1972 novel. The trope is actually Older Than Radio, dating back to an 1872 novel titled Vice Versa.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: Annabel-as-Ellen has to drive to the marina for the water ski show, which is a problem, as she doesn't know how to drive yet. She starts the car, which was backed into the garage and is still in reverse gear. She winds up driving through the back wall of the garage and through a fence into the neighbors' backyard.
  • Hands Looking Wrong: Ellen realises she's in her daughter Annabelle's body when she notices her voice has changed and then checks her hands and sees they are Annabelle's. Annabelle on the other hand notices she's speaking with her mother's voice and instead checks her feet.
  • Heel Realization: A mild instance of this when Annabel-as-Ellen hears her little brother, Ben, confess that he loves his older sister, can't help being neat while she is messy, and doesn't understand why she doesn't like him.
  • Here We Go Again!: The film ends with Annabel's brother and father simultaneously wishing to switch places.
    • Mary Rodgers later wrote about them switching bodies in Summer Switch, which would later be adapted as an ABC Afterschool Special, starring none of this movie's cast members.
  • Inconvenient Darkroom Illumination: At one point in the movie, Ellen enters the school's darkroom. Wondering why the lights are off, she turns them on, ruining the Photography class's photos.
  • Inner Monologue: The movie averts the Voices Are Mental trope that often goes along with "Freaky Friday" Flip. Instead it uses inner monologues, still in the voice of the actress which goes witheach character, to remind the audience that Ellen is in Annabel's head and vice versa.
  • In-Series Nickname: Annabel calls her younger brother, "Ape Face," as opposed to, "Ben."
  • Kids Driving Cars: During the climax, Annabel tries driving in order to reach Ellen. Unfortunately, she's still a kid who doesn't know how to drive, so naturally a Car Chase and Hilarity Ensues. It gets even funnier when she gets her body back.
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: The last line in the film had the father and son saying, at the exact same time, that they would like to switch minds and bodies themselves. It was a similar simultaneous utterance by the mother and daughter earlier in the movie that led to the movie's plot in the first place.
  • Makeover Montage: Ellen, in Annabel's body, gets Annabel's braces removed, then gets a haircut and some new dresses, so Annabel could look less like a tomboy.
  • Parents as People: Annabel gets to appreciate how hard her mother has throughout the day, with being criticized by teachers for Annabel's performance and the amount of household chores and then when her husband decides to invite 25 people for dinner and asks if she can have something prepared in that short amount of time. Same goes for Annabel's father as she appreciates he's a great father but as a husband, he is pretty subpar.
  • Refuge in Audacity: After Annabel and Ellen switch their bodies back, they also switch locations, so viewers would be treated to Jodie Foster leading policemen through an over-the-top Chase Scene and Barbara Harris waterskiing through an obstacle course.
  • Sequel Hook: In the very last seconds of the movie, after the adventure is over and the mother and the daughter each have returned in their own appropriate bodies, the father and the son of the family wish at the same time "I wish I could be in your place!" just like the mother and the daughter did at the beginning of the movie starting the whole ordeal. This suggests that the whole ordeal that just happened to the mother and daughter, can/will now happen to the father and son. A sequel never came to be, however.
  • Sexy Secretary: Ellen-as-Annabel visits her husband (father?) at his office and is not happy to discover that he has a new sexy secretary that he didn't tell her about. After the secretary picks up on the jealous vibe from Ellen, she frantically makes herself less sexy, putting on a raincoat and pinning her hair back and putting on glasses that aren't hers, as evidenced by how she stumbles out the door.
  • Slipstream Genre: In the original film no explanation is given for the switch. They simply say at the same time that they wish they could be the other for a day, and it happens. (The novel, which shows only the daughter's perspective, strongly implies that the mom somehow pulled the switch to teach the daughter a lesson.)
  • Split Screen: For the wish, and the switch that happens immediately afterward.