KIT KITTREDGE: An American Girl DVD Review

     October 26, 2008

Reviewed by Sasha Tandlich

At the start of the film, when Kit walks onscreen in her signature hat, American Girl fans feel a giddy surge of anticipation. Luckily, the film matches, perhaps even exceeds, expectations, and it isn’t just because of the costuming.

Kit Kittredge, a film based on the American Girl doll of the same name, centers on nine-year-old Kit (Abigail Breslin), an ambitious girl who wants to be a published reporter. The film takes place in 1934, during the Great Depression. The family starts experiencing financial woes when Kit’s father (Chris O’Donnell) loses his job and is forced to leave to Chicago to find new work. As money gets tighter, Kit and her mother (Julia Ormond) must take in boarders, inviting in a cast of crazy characters. Trouble starts when a lockbox containing all the Kittredge’s money and the boarders’ prized possessions is stolen. The police are quick to blame Will (Max Thieriot), Kit’s new hobo friend. Kit refuses to believe that her friend was the thief and uses her reporting skills to try and discover who stole the money.

Kit Kittredge is American Girl’s first feature film (its other films were made-for-TV). I must admit I was wary when I heard about an American Girl theatrical release. However, the film completely surprised me. It was one of those rare children’s movies that adults can enjoy as well. The story was a bit predictable, but in a charming way. It seems new because it’s told from Kit’s perspective, giving it an innocent, childlike feel.

The film boasts a fantastic cast, led by Oscar-nominated Breslin. Breslin’s Kit is one of those children who think they can do absolutely anything. She faces many disappointments throughout the story, but it’s uplifting to see her bounce back with fierce determination. O’Donnell and Ormond play sweet, good-natured parents who support their daughter’s lofty goals. The boarders include Joan Cusack, Stanley Tucci, and Jane Krakowski. They play fun, but stereotypical characters (the eccentric librarian, the magician, and the dancer). Tucci and Krakowski do a good job, but Cusack’s librarian is a little too eccentric. I’m normally a fan, but she was just too over-the-top. Children, though, might find her exaggerated acting pretty amusing.

On the whole, the film was delightful and is a great movie for the family to watch together. The story is interesting and relevant today and is backed up by a solid cast of actors. It’s a good reminder of why we all fell in love with American Girl in the first place.

Special Features:

The DVD includes DVD-ROM PC Enhanced Features. Unfortunately for Mac users, the features are not compatible.

Final Grade: B

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