June 7, 2023

The first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, came out in 1930. After that, the novels expanded, and movies bloomed. From the four movie series in the 1930s to the TV series in the 1970s. The last movie released was in 2007, that was, until 2019. 

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is a 2019 based on the second volume in the Nancy Drew series. The film stars Sophie Lillis from It. After more than a decade of any Nancy Drew films, it has been anticipated more than ever, but was it the film we’ve been waiting for? On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 68 per cent, with an audience score of 60 per cent. It was time that I investigated this conundrum. 

Photo Credit to A Very Good Production Inc.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is about 16-year-old Nancy Drew struggling in River Heights; a small town that is nothing like her home back in Chicago. She does not like the place, but her father, Carson (Sam Trammell), could not stand to live in the place, due to the fact that his wife– Nancy’s mother– passed away, and everything reminded him of her. Nancy does not agree with this, but there is not much she can do– she’s only 16 after all. 

But there is more to Nancy than what meets the eye. She is not just some girl with a longboard who can do fancy tricks. She, with the help of her best friends Bess (Mackenzie Graham) and George (Zoe Renee), serves justice that the police do not; and by justice, I mean changing-the-showerhead-in-a-gym-locker-room-to-make-a-bully-literally-blue kind of justice. This, plus some added felonies, lands Nancy in community service. She takes this with stride, and this is where her ghost-hunting originates. Flora (Linda Lavin) and her great-niece Helen (Laura Wiggins) are experiencing supernatural incidents in their home, from moving shelves to flickering lights. This peaks Nancy’s interest, and insists to help solve this mystery. 

This movie has the outline for what makes a good girl-power movie. From the independent women who have significant roles; George, who can hack into security cameras to Bess, who is a genius when it comes to science. Nancy Drew has always been about empowering women, and rightfully so. The only issue with these characters is that they are very one-dimensional. The rich girl, Helen, has problems associated with being rich; the ‘geeky’ girl, Bess and George, have problems associated with being geeky. 

Another issue with this movie is that the lines can sound very millennial at times; as though the script-writer was trying to be relatable with the kids. Understandable, since this is a children’s movie, but there were just some lines that made me cringe.

There are some clever deductions in the film, and I especially admired how there were no love interests in this film. It goes to show that Nancy is an independent woman, who can solve her own mysteries. The actors and actresses in the movie do an excellent job portraying their characters. 

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase gets five out of 10 stars personally. This may not have been the greatest movie, but hopefully it is a gateway to more Nancy Drew related films or television programs. Although fictional, she is a woman who should never be forgotten. 

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