Parents' Guide to

Harriet the Spy

By M. Faust, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Book-based movie has some bullying, name-calling.

Movie PG 1997 101 minutes
Harriet the Spy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 9+

Film on Self Discovery and Accountability

This movie is often overlooked for it’s compelling messages on what it means to be a true friend and to hold oneself accountable for wrongs committed against friends. It also highlights the fact that secrets and gossip don’t tend to help us and can easily get out of hand. That we should let our ambitions outweigh our ability to connect to others and understanding that most people have motives outside of what they show on the surface, dig deep and learn deeper.
age 6+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (9 ):

This is a great story, but there's too much plot and not enough character development. Louise Fitzhugh's book of the same title has been a favorite of several generations of girls. They're the best audience for this movie, which brings the story faithfully to life (but moves it from Manhattan of the 1960s to a blander, unidentified city of the present). The problem is that the film too often gets lost amid long, uninteresting scenes involving Harriet, her friends, and their escapades.

We want to learn more about some of the colorful characters Harriet spies on. The movie spends just enough time with them to catch our attention, then disappoints us by forgetting about them. The only character we come to know is Harriet, who tests our sympathy by writing down mean observations about her classmates. The highlight of Harriet the Spy is Rosie O'Donnell's performance as Golly.

Movie Details

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