With the crisp feel of autumn in the air, spooky movie season is officially in full swing. But while there are a few tried-and-true favorites bound to make the viewing rounds over the next several weeks, I would personally recommend watching the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Double Double, Toil and Trouble at least once this season (or maybe 100 times if you too have a toddler who doesn’t understand the term “overkill”).
Although it had been a while since I’d rewatched this family-friendly flick, I remember absolutely loving it as a kid. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say it was my all-time favorite Olsen film. (Though, admittedly, It Takes Two comes in a close second.) Truth be told, I was a little nervous the movie wouldn’t measure up to my memory of it, and yet I was pleasantly surprised. From Cloris Leachman’s award-worthy, double-duty performance as sister witches Sofia and Agatha to the must-have accessories (who didn’t want to own that moonstone necklace?), it was everything I was looking for and more.
That said, rewatching Double, Double, Toil and Trouble as an adult did leave me second-guessing who the real villains of the film were. And, spoiler alert — it wasn’t a certain mean aunt/witch.
But First, A Recap
In case you need a little refresher on the premise, the story centers around Kelly (Mary-Kate) and Lynn (Ashley) Farmer, who discover their parents are on the verge of losing their house and attempt to rescue their kind — and apparently very rich — Aunt Sophia (Leachman) from the clutches of their other, very evil Aunt Agatha (Leachman again), who has her twin sister trapped within the confines of a mirror.
Does it feel a bit like they are only bothering to look into Aunt Sophia’s mysterious disappearance from seven years ago now because they need her money? Sure. However, they are young kids, and they do come to really like her, so let’s just give them a pass for that minor detail. But you know who doesn’t deserve a pass for that? Their parents!
Now, to be clear, Kelly and Lynn’s parents — played by Eric McCormack and Kelli Fox, by the way — are not aware that Aunt Sophia is trapped in a mirror. They simply think she ran off with the man she fell in love with and just completely cut off ties with her entire family. But, honestly, to me that’s almost even worse?
Look at it like this: Here are two people who evidently had a great relationship with this Sophia woman; they had nothing but kind things to say about her and seemed under the impression that she would gift them the money they needed for the house, no questions asked, if she were there. Yet they also think she would just drop them completely from her life for several years for no reason? That sounds super sketchy and something that the parents should’ve definitely looked into long before they needed Sophia financially.
Sure, they never would’ve been able to guess that she was trapped in a mirror, which is totally fair. (In fact, it’d be really weird if they did.) But maybe file a missing person’s report after a while or make some sort of effort to find this beloved member of your family who supposedly means so much to you?
This feels especially neglectful on their part, considering how blatantly cruel Sophia’s sister, Agatha, was known for being. They are legit scared of her when they visit and ask for money. So, would you really not even consider the possibility of her being involved in her sister’s disappearance?
Aside from all of that, even their role as parents proved to be somewhat lacking in certain areas. For example, they were just totally cool with having their girls wander the grounds of Agatha’s massive mansion unsupervised and talk to random gravediggers. Thankfully, he was a nice and harmless man, but what if he wasn’t?! This is clearly a place they don’t visit very often. Who knows what kind of people Agatha might have wandering around on her property? However, keeping an eye on their kids did not seem to be a very high priority.
Speaking of which (witch?), let’s not forget how it took them several hours to realize it wasn’t their kids underneath those Halloween costumes when they were out trick-or-treating together. Kelly and Lynn had swapped costumes with some other kids in the neighborhood so that they could be free to complete their mission of saving Aunt Sophia. It was a solid plan, but not one that you would’ve expected to work for quite that long. So, both parents didn’t talk or interact with either of their children the entire night?
Then, when Sophia magically reappears in their lives after Lynn and Kelly successfully save her, the parents immediately accept her money without batting an eye. Yes, they had fallen on desperate times, and it was necessary. But it’s still a bold move, considering how little of an effort they put into finding her. As a wise singer once indicated, sometimes you really just have to look inward and wonder if you’re the problem — and in the case of these parents, I vote a resounding yes.