Harriet the Spy

Watch Harriet the Spy

"On your case!"
  • PG
  • 1996
  • 1 hr 42 min
  • 5.9  (10,966)

Harriet the Spy, a family comedy-drama directed by Bronwen Hughes, is a 1996 film adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name by Louise Fitzhugh. The film stars Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet M. Welsch, an eleven-year-old aspiring writer and spy who takes detailed notes of everything she observes in her daily life. Harriet's world turns upside down when her notebook falls into the wrong hands, and she must find a way to save her friendships and reputation.

The film is set in New York City in the 1990s and begins with a glimpse of Harriet's daily routine, which includes spying on her friends, family, and neighbors. Her three best friends, Sport (Gregory Smith), Janie (Vanessa Lee Chester), and Simon (Robert Capron), are also part of her espionage club, and they come up with elaborate schemes to spy on the people in their lives. They also share their secrets and dreams with each other, as they trust each other completely.

Harriet's life takes a turn when she discovers that her nanny, Golly (Rosie O'Donnell), is leaving. Golly has been Harriet's best friend and confidante, and her departure leaves Harriet feeling abandoned and lost. To make matters worse, Harriet's notebook is stolen and read aloud to her classmates, including her arch-nemesis, Marion Hawthorne (Charlotte Sullivan), who uses the information to turn the class against Harriet.

Harriet becomes an outcast in the school, with no one to turn to except Sport and his father, who are dealing with their own family issues. Harriet's parents, who are struggling with their own careers and relationship, are oblivious to Harriet's problem, and she feels like she cannot trust anyone. However, with Golly's advice, Harriet comes up with a plan to win back the trust of her friends and classmates, and she realizes that she has the courage to survive any challenge that comes her way.

Michelle Trachtenberg delivers a standout performance as Harriet, bringing humor, depth, and vulnerability to her character. Her portrayal of a young girl struggling with loss, betrayal, and loneliness, while also learning to navigate the complexity of social dynamics, is relatable and engaging. Gregory Smith is also impressive as Sport, showing a range of emotions as he tries to help Harriet, despite his own issues at home.

Rosie O'Donnell, in her role as Golly, provides the film with heart and soul. Her character is a wise and loving mentor to Harriet, helping her to see beyond herself and understand the people in her life. O'Donnell's chemistry with Trachtenberg is genuine and heartwarming, making their scenes together some of the most memorable in the film.

The film's supporting cast, including Vanessa Lee Chester, Robert Capron, and Charlotte Sullivan, also deliver solid performances, bringing depth and nuance to their characters. Chester, in particular, shines as Janie, who struggles with her own issues of identity and self-worth.

The direction of Bronwen Hughes is steady and assured, bringing both humor and heart to the film. The setting of New York City is a character in itself, providing a colorful and dynamic backdrop for Harriet's adventures. The film's score, by composer Jamshied Sharifi, is also noteworthy, adding whimsy and depth to the film's emotional moments.

Overall, Harriet the Spy is a delightful and poignant family film that teaches valuable lessons about friendship, trust, and perseverance. It is a film that both children and adults can enjoy, with its clever humor, relatable characters, and heartwarming message. With its talented cast and crew, its engaging storyline, and its timeless themes, this film is a classic that will endure for generations to come.

Harriet the Spy is a 1996 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.

Harriet the Spy
Where to Watch Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Harriet the Spy for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (10,966)