This is the first feature film based on the hugely popular American Girl book series and (since, yesterday was Mini-me's 7th birthday) my youngest daughter and I were very excited to have been invited to the New York City screening of Kit Kittredge - An American Girl Movie!
Don't worry, you won't find any spoilers here!
Mini-me, Mom and Tooth Fairy Bear at the New York City private screening of Kit Kittredge - An American Girl Movie on 6/16/08!
So, we bought our train tickets and headed into the Big Apple (yes, all by ourselves and ALL the way from Joisey) and were treated to a private screening, a couple of seats over from Jeffrey Lyons, the big-time film and theater critic for NBC's News 4 New York.
No, I did NOT take a picture - I mean, it could have been his day off or something - and I am fairly certain he would appreciate hearing that!
Anyway, I almost didn't recognize him dressed in his civies and wearing a baseball cap. Apparently, he also knows a whole lot about the game, too. He and a couple of other critics, who I really didn't recognize (sorry) were tossing baseball facts and trivia around like, well, they could have gone on for hours.
Thank goodness, the movie was starting.
An American Girl takes us back to 1934 Cincinnati, OH and The Great Depression - Abigail Breslin plays the 9-year-old aspiring reporter Kit Kittredge and she can’t resist bringing home strays, whether it’s Grace, an abandoned basset hound, or Will (Max Thieriot of JUMPER) and Countee (Willow Smith), a pair of young hobos willing to trade work for meals.
Bright, inquisitive and generous, I thought Abigail Breslin was a perfect choice to play Kit - she makes acting look effortless. I have 3 daughters, one of whom is STILL very precocious seven-year-old, so I could really relate to our heroine's antics - especially, as the leader of the Tree House Club - she had me nodding my head and chuckling within the very few minutes of the movie.
But her happy childhood is abruptly interrupted - Kit and her mother Margaret (Julia Ormond) are left to manage on their own, growing vegetables, selling eggs and even taking in an assortment of boarders including an itinerant magician (Stanley Tucci), a vivacious dance instructor on the prowl for a husband (Jane Krakowski) and a zany mobile librarian (Joan Cusack).
This is where Mini-me started squirming in her seat and asked to sit on my lap. The movie gets really, really sad and I found myself wishing my father-in-law was there, so I could apologize for ever having thought that he may have embellished his family's history, just a bit.
Thankfully, Kit's friends - not to mention, the most hysterical Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci - provide plenty of comic relief.
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 recruits her friends Ruthie (Madison Davenport) and Stirling (Zach Mills) to help her track down the real culprit.
Throughout the rest of the movie, Kit, Ruthie and Stirling (the only boy member of the Tree House Club) go through a lot together and share more than just friendship - their attempts at private investigation are some of the best moments in the movie - by the end, I wanted adopt ALL of them.
I love the fact that Kit remains loyal to her friends - especially, the owner of the bank's daughter, Ruthie - and it helped me to bring home the fact that kids had to deal with many of the same prejudices and "mean girl" behavior we see, today.
If not, worse.
Final Verdict: Kit Kittredge - An American Girl is a great summer movie event for the whole family (perhaps even the grandparents will enjoy going with you, this time) especially, today. When the average American family (like ours) is starting to feel the pinch of high gas prices and having to decide whether to spend their weekly paychecks on food, or fuel. It also reminds kids that living in the "good old days" may NOT have been so simple. For parents? Well, it also helps getting through another day seem, you know, just a whole lot easier.
RELEASE DATE: July 2, 2008
OFFICIAL MOVIE SITE: http://www.kitkittredge.com/