‘Kit Kittredge – An American Girl’: An uplifting and timely film

Wed, 07/09/2008 - 8:53am
By: Emily Baldwin

It’s always nice to come across a film aimed at the younger market that can also be enjoyed by someone a little older, and “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” is just such a film. While I’m not going to tout it as a movie that twenty-somethings will or should flock to, I will say that going to see it wasn’t a completely unpleasurable experience.

The film stars Academy Award-nominated Abigail Breslin as Kit, a little girl growing up in Ohio at the beginning of the Great Depression. Writing is Kat’s passion and she hopes to one day become a newspaper reporter. When her father (played by Chris O’Donnell) loses his car dealership to the bank, he is forced to go to Chicago to try and find work.

In order to keep paying their bills, the Kittredges open their home up to boarders – many of whom have lost their homes to the Depression. An ever increasing number of boarders take up residence with Kit and her mom (Julia Ormond), each bringing with them their own talents and neuroses.

Kit is always bringing home strays. From the abandoned Bassett Hound she finds along the sidewalk to Will Shepherd and Countee, a couple of young hobos who are looking to trade work for food.

When mysterious robberies begin taking place around town, the community rises up in anger against the hobo community residing on the outskirts of town by the river. Kit gets Will and Countee to take her to the “hobo jungle,” where they live, and she decides to write a story about their community. She submits it to the newspaper with the hope that it will open people’s eyes to the reality of who these people are and eliminate some of the fear under which many people are living.

However, when the Kittredge’s home is robbed and Will becomes the prime suspect, Kit’s beliefs are put to the test.

“Kit Kittredge” is based off of the popular brand which has produced books and dolls for young girls since 1986. As expected, the film is aimed at girls ages 3 to 12, but with a great cast and a positive message, it opens itself to a much wider audience.

Along with such acting notables as Breslin, Ormond and O’Donnell, the cast includes Jane Krakowski as ditzy dance instructor Miss Dooley, Joan Cusack as the haphazard mobile librarian and Stanley Tucci as magician Jefferson Berk.

The film takes an interesting look at life during the Great Depression and how families dealt with the loss of jobs, homes and more. At a time when the U.S. is facing major economic uncertainties, the timing of “Kit Kittredge” couldn’t be better, especially considering that the overall message of the film is to be thankful for what we do have.

Moms will be able to sit through the film and be entertained while their kids, both boys and girls, enjoy this whodunit movie with a message.

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