Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is a 2008 American comedy-drama film directed by Patricia Rozema. The screenplay by Ann Peacock (based on the Kit Kittredge stories by Valerie Tripp) focuses on the American Girl character Kit Kittredge, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio during the Great Depression. The film is the first in the American Girl film series to have a theatrical release; the first three were television movies. Julia Roberts served as one of the executive producers here (as she did with the TV movies). In June 1934, Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) is determined to become a reporter, and she writes articles on the typewriter in her attic while drama unfolds beneath her. The mortgage on her house is about to be foreclosed because her father (Chris O'Donnell) lost his car dealership and couldn't keep up with the payments. He has gone to Chicago, Illinois to search for work, and to make some income her mother (Julia Ormond) takes in an odd assortment of boarders, including magician Mr. Berk (Stanley Tucci), dance instructor Miss Dooley (Jane Krakowski), and mobile library driver Miss Bond (Joan Cusack). Locally there have been reports of muggings and robberies supposedly committed
Director: Patricia Rozema
Producer: Julia Roberts, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Lisa Roberts Gillan, Julie Goldstein, Ellen L. Brothers, Marisa Yeres
Cast: Chris O'Donnell, Glenne Headly, Joan Cusack, Stanley Tucci, Wallace Shawn, Julia Ormond, Jane Krakowski, Colin Mochrie, Abigail Breslin, Max Thieriot, Madison Davenport, Zach Mills, Willow Smith
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There's certainly nothing wrong with a little earnestness in a movie especially when it's a supposed kids film like "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl." But this Great Depression-era period piece tries so hard to make a point that it becomes overwhelmingly earnest at times. And that explains why its later attempts at comedy are so broad and goofy. As a result, it is a bit of a mixed package, though it features a good message about tolerance and acceptance, and is one of the more appropriate films that have been aimed at younger audiences and their families lately. The movie also has a good lead: young Abigail Breslin, who stars as the title character. Kit is a would-be journalist who keeps trying to get a Cincinnati publisher (Wallace Shawn) to print one of her articles. She has no end of tales to tell either, especially when she sees her friends and their families losing their houses. The Depression really hits home, though, when Kit's father (Chris O'Donnell) loses his car dealership and is forced to hit the road to look for a new job. In the meantime, her mother (Julia Ormond) has to rearrange their home and take in boarders including a "mobile librarian" (Joan Cusack) and a magician (Stanley Tucci) just to make ends meet. Kit and her mother also show kindness to the less-privileged, such as hard-working, teenage drifter Will Shepherd (Max Thieriot). But given the air of suspicion with which these "hobos" are viewed, that makes them all unpopular. This is some pretty ambitious material for a G-rated movie, and at times director Patricia Rozema and screenwriter Ann Peacock don't know quite what to do with it. The sudden tone shifts at times it's a comedy, other times it's a drama, and there's a strong mystery component are pretty jarring. Frankly, they are lucky to have this cast. Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") pretty much charms her way through some rough patches, and both Cusack and Tucci provide welcome comic relief. "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" is rated G, though it features some child-in-peril elements, some brief violent bits (mostly vehicular mayhem and some slapstick) and a few derogatory slurs. Running time: 100 minutes. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgJuly 2nd, 2008 · Details
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