Given these tough economic times, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" is a reminder of the spirit that got Americans through the darkest economic depression of all time. It is a movie in which I witnessed children, fathers and grandparents appreciate the positive spirit of "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl." This film is appropriate viewing for this particular celebration of the United States ’ one hundred and thirty second birthday.
"Kit Kittredge An American Girl" is set in Cincinnati , Ohio circa 1932. Kit (Abigail Breslin) is the happy daughter of Mr. Kittredge (Chris O’Donnell) and Mrs. Kittredge (Julie Ormond). She has loyal friends and she helps strays, both dog and humans. She also witnesses her classmates who are becoming homeless. When her father loses his car dealership, Mr. Kittredge is forced to move to Chicago to provide food and shelter for his wife, daughter and newly adopted dog.
Mrs. Kittredge is forced to take in borders. The borders are an eccentric bunch, which include a magician (Stanley Tucci), a dancer (Jane Krakowski) and a mobile librarian (Joan Cusack). The Kittredge House also takes in the snooty Mrs. Howard (Glenne Headly) and her son (Zach Mills), a classmate of Kit. The Howards have recently lost their home due to foreclosure. Kit and her friends fear two things; wearing sack dresses and becoming egg sellers. From their young perspective, being a sack dress wearing egg seller is the next step to homelessness. Before the movie is over, Kit Kittredge becomes an egg seller, but she also learns that there are worst things in life than to endure selling eggs.
Unlike “family movies” which sugar coat harsh realities, "Kit Kittredge An American Girl" tackles issues of poverty, hobos and thievery. Appearances are deceiving, but themes of loyalty and perseverance endure, a lesson that seems forgotten in popular culture.
Then again, does popular culture celebrate families and togetherness??? "Kit Kittredge An American Girl" takes place twenty five years before television sets invaded the family unit. We witness families and neighbors do things like eat together and converse. Children play in tree houses and go for walks into the woods. The world of "Kit Kittredge An American Girl" is a world in which children did not plug into electricity to have fun, they made their own fun by being entrepreneurial.
As she was in "Little Miss Sunshine," Abigail Breslin is just as charming as Kit Kittredge. Like "Little Miss Sunshine," Miss Breslin also works with a great ensemble cast. Chris O’Donnell and Julia Ormond are as likeable parents dealing with heartbreaking failure. Joan Cusack steals scenes as the mobile librarian and Stanley Tucci presents an oily charm as the out of work magician. As a cantankerous newspaper editor, Wallace Shawn has some great verbal showdowns with Miss Breslin that echo Gary Grant and Rosalind Russell from "His Girl Friday."
"Kit Kittredge An American Girl" is garnering good reviews from the mainstream media. "Kit Kittredge An American Girl" deserves its success. Ticket buyers will enjoy the communal experience of laughing, crying and cheering the values that all have in common. Happy 4th of July!!!!