High school is everything. Just ask Cassandra Evans.
The target of repetitive bullying from the school’s most popular girl, Katie Sharp, Cassandra is sick and tired of being made fun of. She’s also had enough of being her unpopular, unappreciated self. She’s ready for some change, especially after an embarrassing video of her goes viral, thanks to Katie.
One night, instead of retaliating, Cassandra tries to practice what her mom is always telling her: Lead with love. But that’s a little hard when the person you’re supposed to be loving is horrible.
So, Cassandra prays a simple prayer, asking God to allow Katie to experience what it’s like to live even one day in Cassandra’s shoes. Not thinking much of it, Cassandra goes to bed as if nothing happened. But the next morning she and Katie get a surprise:
They’ve switched minds. Yup. Now, the girls will have to live their daily routines as the other person. And, perhaps along the way they will both learn what it’s like to love your most unlovely neighbor as yourself.
Katie and Cassandra learn some things from one another. Cassandra teaches Katie to be confident and to work past her social anxiety, to try new things and to value the loving family she’s been given. Cassandra teaches Katie how to be kind to others and to treat them with love and respect, and to draw personal boundaries.
Cassandra tells her mom that she wants to be someone else, someone who is popular and has millions of followers, like Katie. Cassandra’s mom assures her daughter that Katie may look like she has it all together, but she’s sure to have issues of her own. Cassandra’s mom also encourages her to talk to Katie instead of talking about her, choosing to lead her life with love.
Later, Katie and Cassandra encourage those that they know to do the same; to choose relationship over gossip. They also challenge followers to go out of their way to love everyone, especially those who might seem difficult.
Katie tells her parents that she wants to leave the world a better place and begin to make videos that encourage and uplift others. Katie also reaches out to her parents, who aren’t very affectionate, hugs them and asks to spend time together. Eventually, Katie’s parents tell her that they’re proud of her for choosing kindness.
Cassandra and her family have a tight bond. Cassandra’s mom goes out of her way to show her children that she loves them. Cassandra’s mom befriends a girl she used to bully in high school and then apologizes to her for her past actions. Clay teachers Cassandra the importance of boundaries and defends her.
Cassandra tells Katie she prayed and asked God to allow Katie to understand what it was like to live a day in someone else’s shoes. Seeing that something has obviously happened, Katie is quick to say that she doesn’t believe in God, but since Cassandra caused this, she should fix it, possibly by praying. Both girls, in the end, believe that God can do the impossible.
Cassandra’s brother, Clay, holds a Bible study where he teaches Cassandra, Katie and her friends about the importance of loving your neighbor. He tells the story of the Good Samaritan and asks the teens to think about how they can love themselves, and their neighbors, well. Clay also teaches the students that how you act is a direct reflection of what is in your heart.
A sign in Cassandra’s home lists some characteristics of God. Cassandra’s mom encourages her to love the woman that God has created her to be. She also teaches her to lead her life with love. A radio station talks about the heart of Jesus.
Katie wears some revealing clothes, including a crop top and a short skirt. Katie tells her friends that she’s only dating her boyfriend “because he’s hot.” Katie and her friends call Cassandra’s brother “a snack,” commenting on how attractive he is.
Katie’s boyfriend calls her beautiful, but she stops him before he can kiss her. He responds, “You know I like it when you play hard to get.”
Katie and Cassandra decide not to tell anyone that they’re in the other person’s body, thinking it might lead to a science experiment where they get cut into pieces.
Katie and Cassandra get into a fight where they tackle and throw cake at one another. We hear that Cassandra’s father died when she was young.
“Oh my gosh,” “stupid” and “what the heck” are used a few times each.
Katie and her band of followers are mean and make fun of other girls’ clothing choices, makeup choices and friend choices. Katie and her friends prank Cassandra, spilling spoiled milk all over her, while filming it and then posting it on the internet as she cries. Later, Cassandra reads the list of mean comments that people post.
Katie’s parents make it clear that they only care about her public image, and how the way that she looks affects the way they look. Katie’s mom tells her that it’s unacceptable to leave the house without doing her hair and makeup. Similarly, Katie is obsessed with her image because her parents have taught her to be, and they often give her no say in her own life.
Cassandra makes a joke about vomiting. Katie’s friends think that their neighbors are stealing from them. Cassandra and her best friend talk about how much they “hate” Katie, but then they correct themselves, saying they “despise” her.
Think Freaky Friday, but throw in themes that talk about the need to love God and others, and you’ve got Switched.
A movie featuring two high school girls who desperately need to see life from the other’s perspective, Switched is a sweet, funny film that takes an innocent look at what it would be like to switch minds with an “enemy.”
There aren’t too many issues here that parents need to worry about, other than mean high school girls, a few comments about attractive guys and some name calling.
The heart of this film is one that works through all of those issues and comes out with a strong message: Love your neighbor as yourself. And to do that well means that you love the person God has created you to be so that you can love those around you.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).