Higher Movies: Dare to Be Different: Nancy Drew

by The Rev. David C. Mumme

Nancy DrewOf all the movies I never thought I would actually go to the theater to see, Nancy Drew has to be at the top of the list. Nancy Drew, after all, is for girls. Now if it were Nancy Drew Meets the Hardy Boys, well then maybe. But I have ten- and eleven- year- old daughters who have read lots of Nancy Drew books, so attend I did. And I actually liked it. (but pPlease don't tell any of my friends!).

The movie begins with Nancy (played by Emma Roberts, niece of Julia) moving from the quaint little town of River Heights, California to La La Land, California ((Hollywood), because of her father's job. She promises to stop her sleuthing, but chooses a house which comes pre-loaded with a mystery. Dehlia Draycott, a fictional movie star of the '70s and '80s, was murdered there some 25 years earlier. So Nancy, of course, is on the case.

The thing that makes the movie interesting is that Nancy is utterly unlike all of the other kids in La La Land. They are all about looking good, being popular, and having a good time. Nancy is all about doing good, helping others, and using her brain – but not in a self-righteous, full-of-herself way. She is smart, modest, and confident without being arrogant or annoying.

My daughters really liked the movie. They thought that it was funny, at times a little frightening (which is good for a mystery), and pretty true to the character of Nancy Drew in the books (which I have not NOT read). I liked the fact that it portrayed a likeable teenager who was different (in a good way), and who was ok with that. My children are also are different than from many of their friends and peers because they are Christians who and want to live their lives by faith in Christ and with love for their neighbors. They are also home-schooled and their dad is a pastor. How different can you get!? My hope is that Nancy Drew will remind them that it's ok to be different (in a good way), and that at least some of their non-Christian friends and peers are just waiting for a good example to follow.

Christians, of course, are different in a good way. Not by nature, but by grace. Baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are a new creation. That means that we try to think, speak, and act differently. We seek to live by the Word of God: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Php 4:8); “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29); and “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

Being baptized into Christ also means that we value and treasure different things than the world values and treasures. After the movie, my daughter commented about Nancy that, “No one is that kind and nice all of the time.” We know that to be true not only from personal experience, but from the Word of God. And bBecause we have been given to know that, what we value and treasure above all else is the forgiveness of sins which Christ earned for us by life, death, and resurrection, and the means of grace (– Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, Holy Communion, and the preaching of the Holy Gospel) – which deliver that forgiveness to us. Being baptized into Christ means that we value and treasure different things than the world values and treasures. Early on in the movie, Nancy says responds to those who are making fun of her, “I like old-fashioned things.” In a culture that considers Christianity old-fashioned, we would have to agree!

Christians, of course, are different in a good way. Not by nature or by our efforts, but by grace. Baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are created anew. That means that we think, speak, and act differently from others. We live by the Word of God which tells us (among other things): “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” (Php. 4:8); “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear,” (Eph. 4:29); and “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Cor. 10:31).

The movie is rated PG for mild violence and a few objectionable words. Overall, it is a very clean movie, and it even deals with the topic of dating in a responsible way. I would guess that it will be most popular with junior high kids like my own. But then again I liked it, and I’m no longer in junior high!

 

The Rev. David Mumme is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Waterville, Minnesota. He is a 1994 graduate of Concordia University--River Forest (now Chicago) and a 1998 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne.  Pastor Mumme and his wife Glenda homeschool their five "different-for-the-sake-of-the-Gospel" children.

Created: July 10th, 2007