Thursday, July 23, 2020

Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery Review: A Diverse Nancy Drew With Mature Themes

Release date: June 12, 2020
Running time: 85 minutes
Starring: Gabriella Pastore, Ja'ness Tate, Kim Akia

When a home robbery occurs, two junior detectives attempt to discover the culprit. Their closest neighbors are the most likely suspects and the investigation digs up bigger secrets than they expected. Can Gabby (Pastore) and Lulu (Tate), best friends and now young detectives get to the bottom of this case and solve the crime before something else happens in their town?

The Case of the Air B&B Robbery should be applauded for its diverse cast and unconventional (at least by Hollywood standards) setting.  This film is a breath of fresh air for a medium that all to often treats diversity as a checkbox.  Both of the main families in this case are mixed race who are successful and live in beautiful homes.  The neighborhood itself is picturesque suburban neighborhood with a diverse group of people living in there.  The two leads are minority females, and most of the interactions are with minority or female characters.  There is a successful small business that plays an important part of the film that is owned by a loving black couple.  There are many prominent female, minority, and diverse characters throughout this film.  And I appreciated seeing a gay character in a movie that seems aimed towards children or teens.  It is important to provide kids and families with movies like this to give them either different perspectives to broaden their horizon, or people and perspectives that they can relate to.  And this is no surprise given that the director and writers of this movie are black.  I really applaud the new voice and can't wait to see what else comes from this team.  

However, the problem with this film is that it lives in a strange middle ground of movies.  Similar to Amazon Prime's My Spy (review), Hidden Orchard Mysteries feels like a movie that is targeted for kids, but that deals with themes and has content that I think many families would be uncomfortable showing their kids.  I would love to show this to my own kids, but there is too much language, adult themes, some violence, and a very minor case of drug use to show.  And despite this, the general setting feels like it is meant to be for young adolescents.  None of these instances is too shocking on its own, and for the most part the movie keeps the same tone despite this content and doesn't dwell on it, but it still seems like a movie that is targeted for kids but has content that might not be suited for them.  Aside from the content, there are some issues with the story slowing down, some thing not being explained well, and also some strange editing choices.  But I am still excited to see what is next for this group and welcome these new characters and voice.  

Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery is a diverse Nancy Drew film, with strong female leads, prominent female, minority, and diverse characters, and mature themes.

Rent it.
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