Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

MPAA Rating: G

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Abigail Breslin, Joan Cusack, Glenne Headly, Jane Krakowski, Chris O'Donnell, Julia Ormond, Stanley Tucci. Family adventure/drama. Written by Ann Peacock (A Lesson Before Dying, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe). Directed by Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park). In limited release 6/20/08. Opens wide 7/2/08.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In the first feature film based on the popular American Girl book series, Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) stars as a resourceful young nine-year-old whose bravery, compassion and determination help her solve a mystery that saves her familys home during the Great Depression.

Aspiring reporter Kit Kittredge cant resist bringing home strays, whether its Grace, an abandoned basset hound or Will and Countee, a pair of young hobos willing to trade work for meals. Bright, inquisitive and generous, Kit is a natural born leader. But her happy childhood is abruptly interrupted when her father (Chris ODonnell) loses his car dealership and must leave Cincinnati to look for work. Kit and her mother, Margaret (Julia Ormond), are left to manage on their own, growing vegetables, selling eggs and even taking in an assortment of boarders including an itinerant magician (Stanley Tucci), a vivacious dance instructor on the prowl for a husband (Jane Krakowski) and a zany mobile librarian (Joan Cusack).

When a crime spree sweeps Cincinnati, all signs point to the local hobo jungle, where Will and Countee live with a group of their impoverished companions. Kit, who always has her antennae out for a good news story, convinces her new friends to take her to see the hobo camp for herself and writes an article that creates a sympathetic portrait of the camps residents. But when Kits mother and their boarders become the latest victims in a string of robberies, Kits loyalties are tested. Will is accused of the crimes and, with all of their savings gone, the Kittredges face losing their house to foreclosure. Determined to recover the stolen money and believing Will is innocent, Kit recruits her friends Ruthie (Madison Davenport) and Stirling (Zach Mills) to help her track down the real culprit. Together they uncover a plot that goes far beyond Cincinnati!

PREVIEW REVIEW: This could be ironic. The film is ultimately about discovering that material possessions are nothing compared to having loved ones and values, yet you can expect the already premium American Girl Dolls to become a major tie-in for the movie. The networking has already begun in kid land, no doubt. But Mom, everyone has one! Good luck with that, dear parent, for you are about to discover the true meaning of girl power.

As for the film, its pretty good. It has a message, its family friendly, it has a powerhouse cast (how can you fail with pros like Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack and Wallace Shawn in supporting roles?), and it fills a void its a picture moms and dads can enjoy with their youngest daughters. Though this film may be more covertly product tie-in fueled than classic movie-making, there are elements of To Kill A Mockingbird and Huck Finn that touch both the heartstrings and tickle the funny bone.

Older sisters may prefer Nancy Drew, and film buffs the aforementioned To Kill A Mockingbird, but this is a film that will generate conversation. Kit Kittredge deals with serious issues, causing kids to ask, What was the Great Depression? and their folks to quietly wonder, Are we heading for another?

Caution: serious subject matter dealing with people losing their homes, people living as Hobos, fathers leaving to find work in other cities, one not returning to his child. Is this inappropriate for your children? Maybe seeing others having to deal with such problems may help them in the long run. Your decision.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: The rogues are captured, no real violence.

Sex: One vague innuendo that will no doubt go over the heads of little ones.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Wine served with a meal.

Other: Serious subject matter dealing with people losing their homes, people living as Ho-Bos, fathers leaving to find work in other cities, one not returning to his child; parents should attend to reassure their children.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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