Harriet the Spy

Film, Family and kids

Time Out says

Adapted from Louise Fitzhugh's 1964 novel about a determined 11-year-old, this primary-coloured piece is a sweet but flawed take on the inspirational children's film. Harriet (Trachtenberg) is indeed a spy - self-employed - roaming the neighbourhood, observing life in all its multi-cultural glory, and taking comprehensive readings in her private notebook. She wants to remember everything, because she's going to be a writer. Meet her world: best friends Janie (Lee Chester), a budding home chemist, and Sport (Smith), a house-kid tending to his starving-writer dad; the rest of her class, including prim Marion, class president; her well-to-do parents; and her guiding light, nanny Golly (O'Donnell). That's the set-up. Pity it takes most of an hour, without proposing where we might be going. Much of the Nickelodeon-assembled cast and crew share a background in commercials, and it shows: good-looking, insistently hip 'fun' - it's also quite boring. Then Marion steals Harriet's notebook, reads out her rather hurtful character assessments of all her friends; they take revenge; Harriet takes her revenge; everyone shuns her; her parents get worried and stop her note-taking; bad emotions take hold... and we have a story. Engaging dilemmas, solutions, experiences - great. And maybe it was worth the wait, but the wait wasn't needed.


Release details

101 mins

Cast and crew

Bronwen Hughes
Douglas Petrie, Theresa Rebeck
Michelle Trachtenberg
Gregory Smith
Vanessa Lee Chester
Rosie O'Donnell
J Smith-Cameron
Robert Joy
Charlotte Sullivan
Eartha Kitt
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