Idol Chatter

kitkittredgepicforic.jpgI know all about the American Girl doll empire from my friends who have daughters obsessed with all things American Girl Doll. Plus it’s hard to miss the many-story American Girl Doll headquarters store when you’re walking down 5th avenue in NYC–not to mention all the moms, dads, and kids clamoring to get inside all the time.
But the only reason I agreed to screen this film was because of its star: Abigail Breslin, of “Little Miss Sunshine” fame. She’s hard to resist.
Boy was I more than pleasantly surprised–this movie is not only a win for kids, it’s a win for parents and all adults looking for a family-friendly, sweet, yet surprisingly deep movie this summer. “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” is very well-cast–on top of little Miss Breslin, there is the wonderful Julia Ormond as Kit’s mother (she’s excellent), with Joan Cusack, Stanley Tucci, and Jane Krakowski (hilarious as always), and a whole host of other wonderful actors and actresses to carry the story’s laughs, whimsies, and a good deal of sadness, too.

Little Kit is ambitious and spunky–she longs to be a journalist–and the movie begins with her marching into the offices of the Cincinnati Register hoping to get published. But the story takes a quick turn toward the hard knocks and real hunger of so many families during the time of the Great Depression–the historical period in which the movie takes place. Kit’s family and friends are torn apart as dads go off in search of work, houses are taken back by the bank (the foreclosure signs so often planted on lawns during the film have an eerie resonance to today’s mortgage crisis), communities fear the “hobos” cropping up everywhere looking for a bite to eat and maybe to pick a pocket, and Kit’s mom takes in boarders in order to make ends meet.
Between the lively boarders, Kit’s new friendship with two “hobo” boys who come looking for food in exchange for odd jobs, and Kit’s yearning that her dad come home rather than stay on the hunt for work, the film moves easily between laughs and tears throughout. The kids in the theater were enthralled and giggled with delight at the small triumphs and sillier moments of Kit’s and her friends’ adventures together.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry (I’m serious–bring Kleenex–I cried like a baby through half of it). And your kids–both girls and boys (I can’t emphasize that enough–this is a boy film, too), will ADORE this movie as much as you do. With “Kit Kittredge,” there’s enough family values and faith-restored to make everyone, the very young up to the very old, leave with a smile on your face and some hope in your step. Enjoy and be moved.

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