Parents' Guide to

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Sparkling book adaptation has great characters, some scares.

Movie PG 2019 89 minutes
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 16+

Worst kids movie we’ve ever watched

Why would they make a “kids” movie like this? Nancy gets assaulted in an alley by an adult, her father gets chloroformed and kidnapped and the kidnappers drag her friend and threaten them with a gun. Seriously?? In between there are stupid stereotypes and boring storylines. If this isn’t appropriate for my 13 yr old who could this possibly be for? What 16-17 yr old is interested in Nancy Drew??
age 12+

Possibly the worst kids movie I’ve ever seen

Ugh. This has a weird plot, is terribly acted, and has some strange content. Nancy humiliates a cyber bully by bullying him. She’s kind of a jerk, in general. Weird scene where a woman talks at length about her burlesque dancing days. This is a painfully stupid movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (13 ):

Sparkling and lovable, this tween-friendly film ably updates Nancy Drew for the "future is female" generation. Fans of the classic books may wonder how Carolyn Keene's "girl sleuth" (who never let a mystery distract her from a pretty frock or a good hot meal) would read in an age when girls' lives are much more adventurous (and complicated) than those depicted between the original books' yellow covers. But 2018's Nancy Drew keeps what was always great about Nancy -- her bravery, her empathy with victims, and her girl-power pals -- and smartly skips the old-fashioned and hidebound, like the books' casual sexism and racism.

The plot of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is drawn directly from the book of the same name (not the 1930 original, but the 1959 update), and it's silly Scooby-Doo action all the way. You'll guess the villain as soon as he shows up, and none of the other plot "twists" will come as a surprise, either. What might? Almost every character gets a humanizing moment, including the so-called "mean girl" who believably transforms from an eye-rolling snob into a true pal, thanks to the warmth and kindness of Nancy and her pals. Young viewers will be on board both for the hijinks and for the movie's essential sweetness -- because that never goes out of style.

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