Monday, August 11, 2008

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

These days, it's hard to find a kid's movie that a) is completely wholesome and honoring to girls, and b) doesn't slap you in the face with its socio-political agenda! However, I've always loved the American Girl movies. My kids can identify with the girls, they learn a little history, and I have no qualms when they want to dress up and reenact the story.

When Kit Kittredge was released, I looked for a theater playing the movie near us, and the closest I could find was an hour and a half away. We were disappointed at first, but I turned it into a road trip adventure for me and the kids. We met my friend, Heather, who lives near the theater, and made a day of it!

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl was no exception to the fine tradition of American Girl films. Set at the beginning of the depression, the movie deals with economic loss, class prejudice, honesty, and the value of community- with subtlety graciousness.
Aspiring reporter Kit Kittredge can't resist bringing home strays, whether it's 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 loses his car dealership and must leave Cincinnati to look for work. Kit and her mother Margaret are left to manage on their own, growing vegetables, selling eggs and even taking in an assortment of boarders including an itinerant magician, a vivacious dance instructor on the prowl for a husband and a zany mobile librarian. 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 camp√Ęs residents. But when Kit's mother and their boarders become the latest victims in a string of robberies, Kit's 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 and Stirling to help her track down the real culprit. Together they uncover a plot that goes far beyond Cincinnati!

This movie teaches valuable lessons, without reaching out of the screen and smacking you in the face with them (unlike certain robot and penguin movies that shall remain nameless). I've been working with my children in the area of gratefulness this summer. I was thrilled that they got to see how Kit deals with her family's struggles, gladly moves her room to the attic to take in strangers, makes friends with the outcast hobos, and fights for justice. I even had a little more hope, considering our country's economic downturn. We're nowhere near a depression, but I came away thinking, "Hey, we don't need all our fancy comforts (although they're nice!). We can get through anything with a little ingenuity and community cooperation." And you'll know, when you see the movie, why Kit Kittredge totally needs a blog! I could really identify with her.

The acting and writing are great, and Abigail Breslin is adorable! Some of my favorite actors appear, including Chris O'Donnel, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn of Princess Bride fame (inconceivable!), and cameos by Collin of Who's Line is it Anyway. I just love him. My kids and I loved this movie, and highly recommend it for families.

Have you seen it? What did you think?


JoAnn said...

My daughter and I went to see it as well. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I can't wait to add it to our homeschool schedule when we cover the depression in a couple of years. It will be a great addition and provide additional opportunity to learn and discuss the issues of the those times.

Mamacita said...

Great review. :)

By the way, I did send the questionnaire to singforhim94 Do you think a filter is catching it, maybe?

Doll Clothes Gal said...

What a fabulous review of the Kitt movie. My family loved it - my daghter wrote her own review on our blog:

Heather said...

't seen it yet ... my mom took my daughter and they both enjoyed it. My daughter has Kit and she's my favorite American Girl ... I love her story :)