In this new blog series, Does This “Old” Movie Hold Up?, I’m going to be watching “old” films (well, old for a 20-something millennial at least) to see whether or not they hold up. This could be with regard to race, sex, gender, or plainly if I think the movie is still funny. I may have remembered or romanticized a movie that now seems really dull. Or maybe, I’m as delighted now as I was then.
So, will the movie hold up? Will it pass muster for basic human decency?
There’s only one way to find out!
I just went to Miami Beach with a few girlfriends for a bachelorette party. We had girly cocktails at Soho House, nearly died of heatstroke at an outdoor Soul Cycle class, and had a dance party on a pontoon boat. And when Hilary Duff’s song, “What Dreams Are Made Of,” came up on our Spotify queue, it was met with unironic joy. The single from The Lizzie McGuire Movie brought us right back to our middle school selves, and I was curious to see if it still held up post-2003.
I was genuinely astounded by how feminist the Lizzie McGuire Movie turned out to be. It starts as a typical abroad rom-com: cute white American girl travels abroad, meets a hottie with an accent, rides on his scooter to an up-tempo soundtrack, you know the drill. So I was really excited to remember how this movie starts out as expected, but suddenly changes tune and becomes a story about female friendship, self-confidence, and empowerment.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie celebrates what it means to grow into your authentic self, and to stand tall in doing so. Once she digs beneath the surface a little, Lizzie realizes her Italian stallion is setting her up to blackmail an ex-girlfriend; she switches gears, turns the charade on its head, and comes out on top—arm in arm with her new pal (who also, spoiler alert, is Hilary Duff in a brown wig. We stan a brunette Hilary always!)
Even Lizzie’s nemesis, the quintessential popular mean girl, Kate, has a coming-of-age glow-up, realizing that authenticity is sexy and when you’re in Rome, you eat the frickin’ pasta! I loved seeing Kate let go of the way she restricts herself and just be, and was tickled that her on-again-of-again flame validated it for her too.
The chemistry between Lizzie and Gordo is still….not there…and they do share a slightly awkward smooch at the end. But guys. I think we actually didn’t understand Gordo’s vibe in 2003. Was he serving Timothée Chalamet vibes all along!? Think about it.
While the plot is surprisingly progressive, The Lizzie McGuire Movie is notably lacking in diversity. Basically, everyone is white, cis, straight, and it is extremely noticeable. For this reason, I can’t say it entirely holds up as it doesn’t provide a realistic picture of what high school looks like in 2021. In such a short time, we’ve come a long way in representing the high school experience—from Disney Channel to HBO—but it’s also extremely clear that we still have a lot of work to do.
All in all, I really enjoyed revisiting Lizzie and the crew. I’m sad we won’t get the reboot that we all deserve, but hey, Kelsey Peters is basically the woman we’d wish Lizzie becomes anyway, right!?
So is Gordo the predecessor to Timothée? Download PopViewers and be sure to let us know your thoughts on The Lizzie McGuire Movie.