Nancy Drew returns for an updated film

April 11, 2019

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” which is rated PG and available on DVD.

As “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” begins, the teenage title character is riding her skateboard down the middle of the street, which to me seemed to signal an updated version of the famous detective.

Sophia Lillis stars as a 21st century Nancy Drew who early in the film decides to combat cyberbullying but breaks the law in the process and ends up paying the consequences with community service.

Before long though, Nancy is involved in a mystery involving Flora (Linda Lavin of TV’s “Alice”), the aunt of classmate Helen (Laura Wiggins), who is a popular student. Helen is also the girlfriend of the boy whom Nancy identifies as a cyberbully at the beginning of the film.

Flora, who has an unusual decorating style, thinks her house is haunted and Nancy can’t resist spending the night in the home with Flora and Helen to try to figure out what is happening. It doesn’t take long before Nancy uncovers some clues. She also gets some help when she is in trouble from Deputy Patrick (Andrew Matthew Welch), who seems to like her.

“Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” offers thoughts on friendship and family and the consequences of taking the law into one’s own

hands. Helen learns about choosing her friends wisely and not staying silent about the mistreatment of others. With Ellen DeGeneres as an executive producer, this movie also offers some appealing characters including Nancy’s friends, George (Zoe Renee) and Bess (Mackenzie Graham), who work with Nancy to solve the mystery.

In this film, Nancy and her dad (Sam Trammell) are coping with the recent death of Nancy’s mother and have a close father-daughter relationship. Nancy also gets to help her dad get out of a tough situation in this film that I found enjoyable to watch. I liked the characters so much that I wouldn’t mind seeing them have other adventures.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.