2. Freaky Friday (2003)
Freaky Friday is a classic of early 2000s Disney. Its body swapping plot puts the lead actors in the position of playing someone else while appearing as themselves, and the antics are endlessly entertaining.
Here, Lohan plays Anna, an angsty, guitar-playing teen whose life is in a state of transition. It isn’t the most serious role ever, but she plays it perfectly, and is surprisingly convincing as an older woman trapped in her teen daughter’s body.
Lindsay Lohan is at her best when she has someone to play off, and she meets her match in Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween). Their scenes together and separately make the film what they are. Seeing Curtis-as-Lohan flung on the back of Chad Michael Murray’s motorcycle is only half as funny without the scenes of Lohan-as-Curtis chastising her.
Freaky Friday is a feel-good, low stakes film that is what it is because of its two lead actors.
1. The Parent Trap (1998)
Complaining about Disney remakes will probably never get old. It’s a formula they’ve been perfecting for decades. Parent Trap is among the best we will ever get – it strikes its tone perfectly, isn’t reliant upon the nostalgia of the original for its success, and everyone involved excels in their roles.
Lindsay Lohan is what makes Parent Trap so fun, though.
It’s easy to forget that the young Lohan is not, in fact, two separate actors playing the lead roles of Hallie and Annie Parker. It’s more difficult than it seems for a child actor to pull off the nuances of playing two characters, and the differences are accentuated in the manner and attitude she exudes. Above all, this performance represents an image of Lindsay Lohan that will forever exist in the cinematic ether – a young star with the world in front of her.
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But her performance in Parent Trap is not Lindsay Lohan. Neither is Mean Girls, not Freaky Friday. Lindsay Lohan is an existing entity with futurity. While it’s fun to dwell on the past, it’s time to look forward to the new chapter in Lindsay Lohan’s career, and to be grateful she did not fully succumb to the problems she faced in the past. Actors are the faces of cinema, the people whose portrayals of the human condition draw us in and keep us focused. Lindsay Lohan clearly has had that power, and she will continue to as long as she persists in the industry.