“The Parent Trap” (1998) is unequivocally my favorite movie of all time, and I don’t see that ever changing. With iconic casting ranging from Dennis Quaid to Lindsay Lohan, there are a lot of factors that contribute to unending my love for this movie, but one of my favorite aspects of the movie is the soundtrack.
First, if you haven’t seen either iteration of the movie, let me catch you up on the plot. A Californian vineyard owner, Nicholas Parker (portrayed by Dennis Quaid) and a British wedding-dress designer, Elizabeth James (portrayed by Natasha Richardson) meet on a transatlantic boat trip and spontaneously elope. A picture of them is taken the night of their wedding, and when they separate, they rip the photo in half and both keep a half of the photo that contains the other. Fast forward twelve years later, two girls (portrayed by Lindsay Lohan) meet at a summer camp and eventually discover that they’re identical twins separated during infancy (with the help of that photo that was ripped in half). In their pre-teen naivety, they embark on a mission to get their parents back together, with a series of obstacles and shenanigans along the way. The core tenet of their plan involves them switching places once leaving the summer camp, going back to the other’s respective home, knowing their parents would eventually have to switch them back. (Spoiler Alert: it has a happy ending).
A lot of the songs are older classics, appealing to the nostalgia of the Gen-X and Boomer generations, while simultaneously introducing them to the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. Would I have been familiar with “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole if it hadn’t been for watching “The Parent Trap” hundreds of times growing up? Probably not. The same goes for most of the soundtrack which includes jazz and swing tracks ranging from “In The Mood” by Glen Miller to “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons” performed by Linda Ronstadt.
It also does this with older pop and rock songs: including a cover of “Here Comes the Sun” performed by Bronx Style Bob, “Do You Believe in Magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful and even “Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the soundtrack is the start and end of it. The very first scene where the parents are eloping on the boat is a montage of them dancing, signing paperwork, drinking wine and having a good time. This montage is backed with the ever-so-romantic “L-O-V-E”. The ending scene, where Nicholas Parker and Hallie fly to England to surprise Elizabeth James and Annie, and ultimately confess that he does want a future with her, is immediately followed by the end-credits song: “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole (who, if you didn’t know, is Nat King Cole’s daughter). The film starting with a love song by a father and ending with a love song by a daughter encapsulates the core themes of romantic and familial love in a beautiful and unforgettable way.
Some soundtrack honorable mentions that I have yet to mention: “There She Goes” by The La’s which plays during the montage of Hallie entering England for the first time, and “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited which plays whenever Martin (Elizabeth James’ butler who is portrayed by Simon Kunz) does his iconic handshake with Annie (or Hallie acting as Annie).
The movie also has a wonderful score done by Alan Silvestri, which I have memorized like the back of my hand.
Overall, “The Parent Trap” (1998) has a timeless and unforgettable soundtrack that appeals to multiple generations and will simply never get tiring.