Nancy Drew Dunnit
By Tracey Clark of Mother May I
My daughter and I got to attend a prescreening of the soon-to-be-released film Nancy Drew. I jumped at the opportunity to preview this movie. Since my nine-year-old has declared she wants to be in the CIA when she grows up, I figured a movie about a young, female super-sleuth would strike her little spy fancy.
Although our family movies of choice usual consist of the animated kind, I have recently noticed my daughter has taken interest to movies like The Princess Diaries. Fair enough. I love that one too. I was crossing my fingers that Emma Roberts, who plays Nancy Drew, would share the same truly endearing qualities as Anne Hathaway. I can be leery of what the industry deems appropriate for kids and I am quite discerning on matters of the media’s standards when it comes to my children. In other words–I’ll admit it– I’m not always the most agreeable movie goer.
As the beginning credits rolled and the perfect mystery music began to play, my daughter and I made eye contact as she flashed a giddy grin, punctuated by her signature nose wrinkle. I was hopeful. To my delight, I fell in love with the adorably earnest heroine Nancy Drew with her sincere, do-right attitude within the first few minutes and thankfully, so did my daughter.
Indeed, Emma Roberts is enchanting. There’s a line in the movie that compares Nancy Drew to Martha Stewart (where a stereotypical teen-diva in need of an attitude adjustment text messages it to her equally annoying BFF) which was exactly what I was thinking as I watched Nancy. She even offered the villains the perfect lemon bar to get them to cooperate. Great strategy, girl! Thankfully, unlike Martha, there was nothing about Nancy’s character that drove me crazy. Sure, she’s total Type-A, but that just means she’s organized, efficient, energetic, clever, creative, off-the-charts smart, AND considerate, generous and kind to boot.
What’s not to like? Of course, the fact that she “likes old fashioned things” makes her even more endearing as she dons outfits that any mother would adore. Please note: her pink party dress is do die for. And her retro sensibility was one very clever way the folks behind the movie tied in the original Nancy Drew of book fame with the contemporary one. Well done. If you can snag the moms with little details like this, you’ve got yourself a money-making movie. Although I imagine all audiences will love her, all of her high school peers in the movie don’t. Not at first. I mean, she soooo perfectly squeaky clean (another reason this mom loves her)…but, like all great endings, she finds her way into the hearts of even those that liked her least. I promise that doesn’t give away the ending.
I can’t say I loved everything about the movie. I felt that the story line was hard to follow for the younger set. The whole drive home my daughter drilled me with questions about twists and turns in the plot and what it all meant. And even when I totally broke it down for her, there were some mature issues dealt with in the movie that I didn’t feel comfortable revealing to a nine-year-old. I guess that’s always a risk when movies are rated higher than my G-Rated preference. I imagine the adult subjects of the movie might be overlooked by many children but nothing gets past my curious pre-tween.
There’s a single mother subplot that runs throughout the movie (which doesn’t offend me in the least) but the main gist of the mystery begs the question of why one of the most famous actresses of her day disappears for months only to return a little half-cocked and then apparently gets murdered because of it. I consider it a messy snarl to untangle. You know, the whole, “well honey, that one guy didn’t like it that she had another guy’s baby and oh, no they weren’t married, it was just one of those things…” doesn’t really flow off the tongue. But, because the movie was a classic “who dunnit” I will say that it was effective in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and effectively mixed up the mystery and suspense factors with lots of good old-fashioned humor, a la Scooby Do.
All in all, I enjoyed that the young leading lady Nancy Drew stood by what she believed in and despite peer pressure marched to the beat of her own somewhat square drum. She stood tall, believed in herself, and was a good friend to all. She pretty much kicked bootie in her own brilliantly demure way and did it wearing a 60’s style mini skirt and penny loafers. Who does that?
If my daughter has anything to do with it, she will.
Nancy Drew opens in theaters on Friday, June 15.
Thank you to Dads & Daughters for the sneak peek screening.
Tracey Clark is freelance writer, photographer and author of beautiful pregnancy and baby journals found at Maypapers. You can read more by Tracey Clark at her weblogs Mother May I and Picture This.