Nancy Drew

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Not recommended for children under 8 years, PG to 15 due to violence and disturbing themes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Nancy Drew
  • a review of Nancy Drew completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 June 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 This movie is not recommended for children under the age of eight years due to violence and disturbing themes.
Children aged 8-15 Parental guidance recommended. This age group are most likely to appreciate the movie but some may be disturbed by the violence and themes.
Children over the age of 15 Nancy Drew is suitable for children over the age of 15 years of age, with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Nancy Drew
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence
Length: 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Nancy (Emma Roberts) is famous in her small town community for her successful crime solving abilities.  However, when Nancy’s father (Tate Donovan) has to move to the bigger, more dangerous city of Los Angeles for work Nancy makes a promise to her father that she will postpone her detective career for a while.  Despite her best efforts, Nancy is unable to resist temptation when she finds herself living in a house linked to the 25 year unsolved murder of a famous movie star.
Nancy finds sleuthing and living in the big city is tough when her old fashioned ways and ‘do gooder’ intentions attract ridicule amongst the local police and her peers. 
As in any true mystery, Nancy is aided by supportive accomplices; 12 year old Corky (Josh Flitter) who adores Nancy’s unique ‘non-LA’ ways, and Ned Nickerson (Max Thierot) who is ever hopeful that Nancy will put aside her sleuthing ways to notice him.  Together they follow a range of clues, and face many dangers as they attempt to crack the unsolved crime


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Murder, death of a parent

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Throughout the film there is a focus on the murder of Dehlia Draycott.  Whilst the actualities of Dehlia’s murder are not explicit, there are many implicit explorations and suspenseful moments that indicate the ways in which the murder was carried out.
  • Nancy is kidnapped and attempts are made on her life in a number of ways throughout the movie.  Nancy is chased by Dehlia’s murderer and his accomplices, and attempts are made on her life including nearly being shot, blown up by a bomb, hit by a car and strangled.
  • Nancy herself uses violence to escape from dangerous situations

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • Nancy is involved in a hostage situation where she and a security guard are tied up by two criminals
  • There are a two scenes where death threats are made towards Nancy via the phone
  • In one scene, Nancy and her father are threatened by the murderer while in a car.  Nancy escapes the situation by jumping from the moving car, leaving her father in the car.
  • Nancy is chased through a secret hallway by the murderer.  This is a scary scene with strong moments of suspense.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Depending on their sensitivity, some children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the above scenes

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Pepsi
  • Coke
  • Apple computers
  • Mercedes
  • Land rover
  • Vogue Magazine

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There is one kiss between Nancy and her boyfriend Ned.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “crap”
  • “Oh my God”
  • “hell”

In a nutshell

Nancy Drew is a movie remake of the mystery book series of the 1930s.  It attempts to incorporate the charm of the old with the chic of the new.  Unfortunately Nancy’s character is portrayed as annoyingly perfect and out of touch with the modern world, rather than as the feminist and independent character who has been admired throughout the years.  This movie will be of most interest to pre- and early teenage girls. 
The main message from this movie is that you should be yourself and make your own decisions despite the pressure of others around you.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:Female resourcefulness, independence and strength

  • Doing what is right
  • Mother and daughter connection
  • Honesty

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the real-life consequences of peer pressure and of involving yourself in dangerous situations