Show name: Nancy Drew
Release date: 2007
Genre: Mystery, Detective drama
Starring: Emma Roberts
Directed by: Andrew Flemming
Studio: Warner Bros
Length: 99 minutes
The Nancy Drew books from Carolyn Keene have provided rich inspiration for TV and movies over many years.
A comparatively recent adaptation starred Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew and Tate Donovan as her father. Max Thieriot is cast as Ned Nickerson, Nancy’s boyfriend, and the role of comedy sidekick falls to Josh Flitter.
Nancy’s father takes them off to California for three months in search of work. His legal practice needs more income.
He insists that Nancy takes a break from the sleuthing that is highly valued back home in River Heights, and she also attends school.
Both aspects took quite some getting used to by comparison with the books.
Nancy has been allowed to choose their home and she picks one with a mystery attached. Former movie star Dehlia Draycott lived there, but her death remains a mystery.
Life in California is radically different to what Nancy is used to. She is too centred to re-invent herself just to please other people, but this makes fitting in at high school particularly tricky.
She is able to befriend Corky, a 12-year-old boy who also struggles to make friends. She is also thrilled by a surprise visit from Ned on her birthday.
To while away the time, Nancy explores the house, which features a creepy caretaker, booby traps and hidden passages. She fills in her time pouring over old cuttings and scrapbooks left behind by Dehlia.
Gradually, Nancy uncovers the mystery. Dehlia made a will before she died, and Nancy hears a voice telling her that the will is hidden inside a Chinese box. Ned, Nancy and Corky try to locate the box but without success.
Nancy also deduces that the beneficiary of the will is Dehlia’s illegitimate daughter, works out the likely birth date of the child and tracks down all the possible contenders.
Well done, our girl!
Given how rich Dehlia Draycott was, a large fortune is at stake. This presents the usual dangers to Nancy as some ruthless individuals will stop at nothing to prevent Jane’s daughter from inheriting her fortune.
The Nancy Drew movie was an interpretation of the Nancy Drew books. There is much for the loyal fan to recognise and enjoy, but this is set alongside an innovative approach to how Nancy’s lifestyle, mannerisms and behaviour go down in the modern world.
This was intriguing, and I did like the irony and good humour with which this took place.
Emma Roberts put up a solid performance as Nancy. She had good humour, courage, excellent manners and a deep-seated moral compass that spoke clearly to the heroine we love in the books.
However, the supporting characters were less vividly sketched. We didn’t see enough of George and Bess to really form a view of them, and Ned was a little too childlike and straightforward by comparison with the books. Nancy’s father wasn’t quite the Carson Drew I’d always imagined from the books.
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