a review by Nalini Haynes
Production: 9 Story Entertainment
Harriet is a teenager living in Manhattan with her movie producer father, her charity worker mother and her nanny Golly. Harriet’s best friends are Sport and Janie, and her nemesis is Marion who is the Queen Bee of the class as well as blog queen. They all attend what looks to be an elite private school.
Harriet decides that she is going to fight for the position of class blogger, although why only one person is allowed to blog is not explained. Their teacher decides that for one month Harriet and Marion will share the role of class blogger, and the person who incites the most discussion will win the role. Harriet’s father invites Skander Hill, teen movie star, to his home to discuss the upcoming Spy Teen II movie deal, so Harriet storms off. Later Harriet blogs about it in an attempt to win the blogging competition. Marion accuses Harriet of lying, so Harriet’s behaviour gets more and more outrageous in covert pursuit of Skander.
The movie is fairly predictable in a feel good way appropriate for the age group at which it is marketed. My concern is that any lessons regarding internet awareness and respect for others were undermined by Harriet’s apparent exoneration in favour of blaming Marion. Harriet behaving like paparazzi in her stalking then posting a humiliating expose of Skander to the class blog was exonerated. Marion was held to a greater accountability for posting the same expose to the web; where is the lesson in responsibility and internet savvy-ness here?
Wesley Morgan (Skander) is teen idol good looking. Additional comedy is provided with Janie’s experiments, Sport’s ineptitude at sport, Harriet’s outrageous conduct, Golly’s extra-curricular activities and the activities of the In Group.
The original Harriet the Spy was a children’s novel by Louise Fitzhugh, first published in 1964. In the novel, Harriet, aged 11, is an aspiring writer who spies on people and writes in a journal to develop her writing abilities. Ole Golly, Harriet’s nanny, leaves after conflict with Harriet’s parents. Harriet’s classmates, including her friends, are alienated after reading Harriet’s journal, so they form a Spy Catcher club to punish her. Retaliation only isolates Harriet more. Marion, the Queen Bee, is overthrown by the classmates when they get sick of her dictatorship. Harriet’s parents talk to the teachers resulting in Harriet being appointed as editor of the class newspaper. This enables Harriet to print a retraction, resulting in restoration. The 1996 movie follows a similar plot. Harriet the Spy: The Blog Wars seems to be more of a remake than a sequel.
Primary to middle school aged girls could enjoy this movie.
4 stars out of 10.
This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.