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Movie Review

Nancy Drew a.k.a. “Nancy Drew Girl Detective,” “Nancy Drew y el misterio de Hollywood,” “Nancy Drew: The Mystery in Hollywood Hills,” “Kitty och hollywoodmysteriet”

MPAA Rating: PG for mild violence, thematic elements and brief language

Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Preteens, Teens, Family
Thriller, Adventure, Crime, Family, Drama, Adaptation
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
June 15, 2007 (wide); DVD release: March 11, 2008
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
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Featuring: Emma Roberts, Tate Donovan, Barry Bostwick, Laura Elena Harring, Josh Flitter
Director: Andrew Fleming
Producer: Susan Ekins, Mark Vahradian, Jerry Weintraub
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Small town girl. Big time adventure.”

Nancy Drew (played by Emma Roberts, niece of Julia) is a teenage sleuth. She lives in River Heights and is well-known and liked by everyone. She helps the police and even counsels the criminals. She has 2 close friends and a friend Ned (played by Max Thieriot). Ned likes Nancy, Nancy likes Ned. There has been no formal commitment on either end, and neither seems to know the other one’s feelings. Nancy’s father, Carson Drew (played by Tate Donovan) is a lawyer. Her mother is dead.

Her dad decides to move temporarily to Los Angeles to make more money, and so Nancy is off to the big city. She promises her dad that she will put her sleuthing days behind her. However, unknown to her dad, the mansion they are staying in was once owned by the famous actress Dehlia Draycott.

Twenty-five years ago, Dehlia disappeared for a period of time. When she returned, she hosted a party. Before she appeared at the party, she was found drowned in her pool. This mystery mansion comes complete with a creepy caretaker, hidden passageways and secrets to be uncovered. Nancy can’t help being drawn into this mystery. As she begins to uncover it, someone tries to scare Nancy, to stop her from getting any more information.

Nancy Drew is kind, helpful, and is at the right place at the right time. She is the all around sleuth. If you have ever read any of the Nancy Drew books, you know that she is a well-dressed, normal-appearing teen. In this movie version, Nancy is the same girl from the 50’s and 60’s, but the majority of the movie is set in present day Los Angeles. Nancy does not fit in, and she does not appear to be “normal.”

VIOLENCE: In the beginning of the movie, Nancy is held hostage. She falls off a roof, and then repels down the side of a church. Nancy almost gets hit by a car. She also almost gets blown up. There are a few car chase scenes (Nancy’s passengers buckle up). Nancy is chloroformed, abducted and held hostage. She jumps out of a moving car. She is threatened several times both over the phone and in person. Two people get hit with a shovel. Nancy is shown with blood on her forehead.

When Nancy enters the mansion, they are staying in strange things happen. She goes against her promise to her dad and does investigate the murder mystery behind his back. Nancy’s cupcake is stolen at lunchtime. The girls responsible for stealing her it also play a practical joke on her. Corky pretends to be choking to try to get her to perform CPR. He mentions that his sister may be the devil. In another scene, a girl is actually not breathing and needs an emergency tracheotomy, which Nancy performs. A boy says that he and the girl were making out. Ned and Nancy kiss.

In the strangest twist of the whole story, Nancy throws a party to try to appear normal. When the party gets out of control, the police are called. Her father congratulates her for having the party because that is what normal teens are supposed to do.

I was surprised by the good content in the movie. In the beginning, a prayer is said by a minister. Nancy obeys the speed limit, even during a car chase. Nancy overlooks what others say about her and is very forgiving towards those that do wrong to her.

Nancy’s motto is to “put others first.” Nancy has learned that from her father. Her self-sacrifice unites a family and saves a mother and child. Jesus death was the ultimate sacrifice, and we are only saved by a relationship with Christ. While too many movies glorify violence and evil, this movie does exactly the opposite. It portrays near perfection in the heroine. Very few modern day movies make it cool to be kind and good.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT: The word hell is said in surprise. Someone text messages “OMG. I’m sitting next to Martha Stwt.” There is much violence or implied violence. I almost felt I was watching an old mystery movie—Did I really see the violence or did my mind fill in the blanks and make my mind think it saw what wasn’t there?

I recommend this movie. I went to see it with 4 girls ranging from 9-13 years old; They all loved the film. Although, I could find much to pick apart (I read Nancy Drew as a young girl in the 70’s and this is not the Nancy Drew I loved), this movie offers young girls an unusually good role model. Most movies aimed at young teen girls have characters that dress skimpy and model bad behavior. It was refreshing to see a movie with my daughter that modeled good behavior.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—I took my younger sister to see this movie with very low expectations, but I found myself extremely surprised. “Nancy Drew” is a delightful film and sets a good standard for movies. The character of Nancy Drew is cheerful, charming, bright, and intellectual. Her best friend Ned is someone I could relate to. I saw myself at sixteen years old. Morally, the movie has a few violent scenes, and exactly one cuss word. The Lord’s name is taken in vain once. Other than that, the movie was clean. I would recommend this movie to anyone.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Jacob Airey, age 18
Positive—My daughter (10 years) and our friends saw Nancy Drew today—after anxiously awaiting this movie for months! She loved it and said that it was “so worth the wait!” I enjoyed the fact that the movie was so different. Nancy is a good girl with good values. It is nice to have a heroine to root for that is truly a nice person that makes good choices. There is very little to be offended by in the movie and has just enough suspense to keep the story interesting, exciting and fun—for parents, too. “Nancy Drew” gives great positive messages about putting others first, loving, forgiving and friendship. Faith is even put in a good light without making fun. From a parent’s stand point, it’s a great movie for the “tween” girl in your home and it doesn’t encourage your girl to be grow up too fast! Hopefully, there will be more Nancy Drew movies or films like them!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Kelly, age 37
Positive—This was an fun and entertaining movie to watch. My daughter, Sheay loved the movie along with 2 of her friends who also went with us. It was a daddy/daughter night and the other 2 fathers also enjoyed this movie. It was very clean for the most part. I enjoyed trying to figure out who the culprit was and so did the other fathers. There was a very nice sense of innocence with the main character along with a longing for justice. Other than a one time disobeying of her father, it seemed like the movie showed good ethics from the main character. I recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Reverend Bob, age 46
Positive—Just got back from viewing Nancy Drew with my wife, and three kids (ages 14, 12, and 9). The entire audience was laughing at parts throughout and the mystery plot was good enough to keep the adults engaged. Nancy is a refreshing teenager that shows that being good can be cool. Emma Roberts is very believable in this role, and I would be surprised if they don’t make a sequel or two. My youngest was a little scared at the beginning with the darkness of the house and tunnels Nancy explores, so you may want to monitor those under 8 viewing this one. All in all a very good film to take the family to and easy to talk over any slightly objectionable parts on the drive home.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Eric, age 42
Positive—I took my two daughters, Morgan 8 and Brooke 4, along with one of their friends and they LOVED the movie. I thought it was kinda slow, but as long as my girls liked it then it was worth my money. It is really hard these days to find a movie to bring your kids to that that does not have foul language or crude humor in. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to bring their girls to see a cute, clean movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Tina Coffey, age 35
Positive—This movie is a melding of the Nancy Drew of the old days with modern culture; the effect was somewhat seamless, though sometimes out of place. It’s like throwing a non-melting ice cube into a vat of boiling water. “What’s that ice cube doing floating on top?” You know it just doesn’t belong. But it wasn’t an unpleasant thing in this case, just different. It would have been interesting to see it in its original time and setting, but I can see why they chose to do it this way: no doubt more folks could relate to a movie set in the here and now. And besides, impact-wise it might affect more people this way, too. Teens are looking for heroes to emulate. This Nancy Drew is an oddball in some ways (or at least would appear to be in this society, with her high morals, dress, and mannerisms), but definitely someone to emulate. The leading actress did a fine job in portraying an old-fashioned Nancy in a new world. Morally, this is a great movie, safe for just about anyone.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Chila W., age 50
Positive—I took my 9 year old to see this movie today. While there were a few moral issues, all in all it was a very good movie. I liked the way Nancy dressed and my daughter thought it was cute as well. Definitely the way I would prefer to see young girls dressed. Nancy had a good moral compass to try to do the right thing. Yes, she ends up with a boyfriend but it has one slight kiss in it which is very unusual for kids portrayed as 16 in today’s movies. It has a good mystery to follow a few parts where my daughter was scared for Nancy because she thought she was going to get in big trouble. It was easy story line to follow for girls. Happy ending. I recommend this movie!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Kelli, age 32
Positive—I saw this movie with my 14 year old daughter and I really enjoyed it. It had humor and mystery and I enjoyed the story. The actors were well cast and for the most part believable. Some might say the movie was a little corny but this is what made it different and funny. Nancy’s wardrobe was interesting and different and the mystery house in the movie was wonderful. The detail and the decor were exquisite. The movie sort of reminded me of the remake of 101 Dalmatians. Another good, clean, moral movie. Take your pre-teen or teen daughter to see this movie and have a fun wonderful afternoon. You won’t have to worry about a any scenes of sex, alcohol, drugs or vulgar language. WOW! What a change from the normal garbage usually playing at the movies.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Cheryl Henderson, age 50
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. It is so rare these days to find a clean movie, that I decided to take a deep breath and go to a pre-teen movie. At first it looked lame, but it turned out to be really good. I was so glad that there was a prayer—some people get really offended, but I think it’s great! It turned out to be pretty suspenseful. You can’t really go expecting it to be like the books—but it is similar in a lot of ways. A tiny bit of language was annoying but other than that, very enjoyable! It was a great way to spend time with my mom; and at a clean movie too.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Jessica Albert, age 18
Positive—I thought this was a wonderful movie! My 12 year old daughter and I both enjoyed it quite a bit. Nancy Drew was a great role model in this movie and showed that it is cool to just be yourself. I really liked that and my daughter and I talked about that after the movie. It was also quite funny. This is the best movie I have seen in a very long time! Definitely take your daughters to see it. I think my eight year old son would also like it, though it would probably scare my 4 year old daughter. Thumbs up for this movie!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Nikki Storment, age 35
Positive—This movie had something that we need a lot more of: Morality and decency were portrayed in a positive way. In so much of what comes from Hollywood these days, if a character is presented as a clean-cut, honest, moral person, he is either the source of comic relief throughout the story, someone we are supposed to laugh at for his stupid old-fashioned ways, or he turns out to be the maniacal serial killer. But in “Nancy Drew,” Nancy is almost everything that Hollywood normally sneers at: honest, decent, church-going, intelligent …she even dresses attractively and decently …and all of this is portrayed positively!

On the flip side, the comic relief in this movie is a couple of “hip,” cynical, somewhat crass teenage girls. [Warning, spoiler coming] The mystery in the story centers around a woman who gets pregnant outside of marriage and ends up being murdered. There’s no heavy-handed message here, but unlike the many movies where immoral behavior is presented as fun and liberating, in this movie—like it so often happens in real life—running with the immoral crowd ends up getting you in big trouble.

The only notable moral negative I saw was the tired plot device that the child must defy her parents in order to “be true to herself” and accomplish all this good. Yes, I know that in real life there are some number of stupid parents who screw up their kids lives. But how come we never see a story where there’s a conflict between parents and children, and in the end it turns out that the parents are right and the children would have been better off to have listened to them? It’s always the parents who end up apologizing.

Two other nitnoid negatives: Throughout the movie they continually refer to Nancy’s crime-solving hobby as “sleuthing,” an unusual word used for no apparent reason, and just distracting.

There’s a an understated romance between Nancy and her boyfriend Ned. But Nancy is portrayed as such an extraordinary character—not only a crime-solving genius but along the way pretty and fun and dynamic etc etc—and Ned is never portrayed as having any particularly outstanding qualities. What does she want him for?

The biggest negative to me: The movie was intellectually pretty light-weight. As a mystery story, they really didn’t give the audience much chance to follow along with solving the crime, nor was Nancy’s solving of the case all that brilliant if you really think about it. Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie this wasn’t.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jay, age 48
Positive—We absolutely loved the movie! The only 2 complaints are that the old lady says the word h*** (which is the only bad word in the whole movie), and the realtor is showing to much cleavage! I would have to say it gets a little spooky at times, and may not be appropriate for younger children! My 14 and 11 year old boys really liked it! A must see movie! Go get um Nancy! Quote: Putting others ahead of your-self!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Melissa P., age 33
Positive—I thought the movie was great. Yes, there were a couple parts my children and I looked at each other at. However, I loved how clean and refreshing the main actors were. I loved the retro dress of Nancy. And her obeying the traffic laws (esp. with my driving daughter sitting next to me! :) And… the best part of all… we thought John Flitter was a great side kick. He made us laugh sooo much. Fun, refreshing movie!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Lori, age 42
Positive—As a young boy I grew up reading the Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys books.All though the movie showed Nancy in modern times the thrill was still there and you still get caught up in the story. There is only one swear word in the whole film. That is a nice change from other movies I have seen. However, the Lord’s name (omg) was used.That is one of my two negatives. The other is The lying by Nancy to her father so he would not think she was sleuthing. Nancy played by Emma Roberts portrayed a teen who dressed without wearing skimpy clothes, who forgives when she is used by her classmates at a basketball game. Jesus teaches us to forgive no matter what happens. This is a great movie that shows forgiveness and good values.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jon Gray, age 31
Neutral—Ahh, Nancy Drew—what could be more wholesome than that?! I took my 12 year old daughter to this movie, and she enjoyed it. It was cute except for the plot… the mystery surrounding an unmarried movie actress who was murdered soon after having a baby. Why does a movie targeted to young girls have a story built around a mother who had a child out of wedlock? I realize this is almost the norm in our culture today, but couldn’t the writer have thought of another mystery for Nancy to solve? As the story developed, the baby daughter grew up, and like her mother, had a baby without the benefit of a husband, and they all lived happily ever after at the “home for unwed mothers.” Subtle, but not lost on this mother. I had a talk with my daughter about the message of this movie, and I suggest all parents do the same if they choose to take their children to see it.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Annie, age 43
Negative—I went to see this movie with my kids, and it was extremely offensive. There is graphic violence and profanity. We walked out after the first 15 minutes because it was so offensive! I should have known better than to take the kids to a PG-rated movie!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Amy R., age 35
Comments from young people
Positive—I totally think this movie is the GREATEST movie all summer besides “Pirates of the Caribbean: At worlds end” and “Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix”!!! This movie is probably more of a girls movie. I think boys could like it though. I went to see it with my mom, and we LOVED it! We are big Nancy Drew fans. We thought it was VERY funny how she could do everything from, climbing up buildings to saving kids from choking! I love it and TOTALLY recommend it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Emily, age 12
Positive—It was a really funny movie. It kept my attention, and kept me laughing the whole way through.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Sarah, age 14
Positive—This movie is one of the best I have seen this year. It’s perfect for preteens and teens. Me and my sister went to it and had a good time. My sister didn’t really want to go to it, but she ended up having a goodtime. It was a great movie.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Joanna Childress, age 16
Positive—This movie is wonderful!!!… I went with my mom and best friend and we all loved the movie. However, I would not recomend this to kids under the age of 8 and if they are easily scared 9 or 10. I am not putting the movie down at all, however an example of what I am saying is… When Nancy is trying to figure out the “Dilah Daycott” mystery she has been getting threats and at one point she is being held hostage by the guys that don’t want her to solve the mystery and she escapes and they see her and start to chase her so she goes to the secret passage from the caretakers apartment building and she gets caught and she escapes by getting a car sent to the house and is getting chased by those people and ends up getting in a car wreck and the men chasing her drove off and Nancy went to the police station her dad gets there with the man who is offering him a job where they live and he gives them a ride in his limo and then she realiz es that… well if I go any further I will end up giving it away so you’ll have to see it to find out but it is a good wholesome movie… one of the few wholesome movies.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Stephanie, age 12
Positive—“Nancy Drew” was a great movie! She seemed to always get away, which became a slight cheesy, but overall this is a must see!! Nancy always did the right thing, no matter what happened. It was an inspiration for me to question my ways and live more like Christ! A definite 5 star!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Kendall E, age 13
Positive—I went to see this movie and expected it to stink. I was realy suprised. This was a very good movie, realy suspenseful. Overall, I would definitely recomend this movie for all ages.
My Ratings: Good / 3½
—Nate Doederlein, age 12
Positive—This movie was entertaining, funny, and exciting! At first, I thought this movie would be such a drag, since my little sister wanted to see it so bad, but during the movie, I was more into it than my little sister. It had many great examples for today’s teens and children, such as how to dress modestly, to forgive others, how to treat others with kindness, and to be the best you can be. I would definitely recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys action, and a little but of silliness here and there. (Warning: I recommend this movie for anyone 7+ because of some scary situations and language throughout.)
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Laura, age 15
Positive—“Nancy Drew” is a wonderful movie for people of all ages and especially people who like mysteries. The acting is great, and the whole movie is very enjoyable. Nancy Drew is a very smart, kind girl who is always thinking about others first. Even when the girls at her new high school tease her and make fun of her fashion, she never changes her style to that of the weird teenagers. Nancy continues to wear her same modest clothes throughout the movie, and in the end all the girls want to dress like her as well as be like her. Also, during a car chase, although the bad guys are getting away, Nancy will not drive over the speed limit. And best of all, people actually prayed in this movie! Nancy Drew is one of the best movies that I’ve ever seen, and I recommend it to everyone.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Sarah Moore, age 13
Positive—I went to see it today and I loved this movie, it is one of the best movies that I have seen in a long time I mean I have seen movies that are pretty good but not the best, the movie had no curse words at all, I suggest you see it, she did not dress bad or skimpy she dressed like a Christian should dress, I really want to see it again…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Elise, age 10
Positive—I think that “Nancy Drew” is one of the best movies I’ve seen! It was kind of scary for little kids, but more a fun scary than a bad scary! I jumped a lot but I liked it! There are bad guys who chase her, and guns. And a bomb. I worry about little kids seeing that. My mom and I didn’t expect it! The really cool thing is she has a lot of gadgets, Nancy Drew is not selfish and she helps a lot of people. She is very generous. My mom didn’t like that Nancy Drew ignored her Dad and kept sleuthing, but I think she did the right stuff! No one dies, and it has a happy ending! You should really see Nancy Drew!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Genny Wagner, age 8
Positive—…saw this movie tonight with my mom, and we had a wonderful time. It was a great movie that any mother and daughter should see. Nancy was a very kind girl to everyone, even when someone made fun of her. She had her own sense of style, and no one could change that. Nancy is a very determined girl and knows what she wants. The movie was easy to follow and also had some great humor in it. All in all, it was an awesome movie, and I would definitely see it again!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Ashley, age 14
Positive—I went to see this movie and I loved it!!! It was pretty clean and very fun! You should really go!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Anna Rose, age 16
Positive—…I saw this movie yesterday. I was kind of expecting a really stupid movie, but I was wrong. It was funny and very morally positive. I know that the whole baby outside of wedlock isn’t good at all, but, hello, this is America, people. Hollywood doesn’t make this stuff up. This happens in the real world, and with the daughter, Jane, having the same issue with her kid, that happens, too. A lot times, stuff like this is generational, so I wasn’t offended by that. I liked that Ned and Nancy’s relationship was so innocent-just two good friends. The best relationship is built upon the best friendship. I thought her dad was a little odd, not exactly encouraging the best morals but trying to be a good dad. Another good thing, Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew presents a good image for girls, unlike the girls that are usually in teen movies. Although she may be a little different, she sticks with what she believes and likes and doesn’t really care what the other girls think about her. The one thing I really wasn’t happy about was the fact that the story line was kinda choppy. Sometimes it would jump to something, and I’d be, like, “What? I’m lost.” But, overall, cute film with good morals. I would suggest it to anyone.
My Ratings: Good / 3½
—Alexis P, age 14
Positive—I went to go see this movie with my 11 year old sister. I let her pick out the movie to see at the theater and she chose Nancy Drew. I’ve read the books when I was younger and I didn’t really want to see the movie because I thought it sounded stupid. But, I went to see it with her anyway and it was totally different than what I thought it’d be. I thought it’d be some dumb mystery story and it’d be really boring. But, it was really good, the mystery was good, there were a few funny parts that I laughed at, the acting was good, and so was the film making quaility. I recomend this movie for families and for teens and kids. My family is going to buy “Nancy Drew” when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Ashley, age 14
Positive—I thought the movie was great! Me my mom sister and best friend went to see it. We want go see it again. GREAT MOVIE!!!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Robert, age 11
Positive—This was the best movie I have seen all year! There is one word they could of left out, but other than that a great movie!!!… This a great film to see, though some younger kids could get a little scared. This is one of the rare films that is worth your time and money. …
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Holly, age 12