, 101 min, 2008
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writers: Ann Peacock (written by), Valerie Tripp (Kit Kittredge stories)
Stars: Abigail Breslin, Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack
Now here’s a surprise: a film based on a series of stories, which inspired a series of universally popular dolls, and yet it’s intelligent for what it is, and enjoyable for adults as much as (if not more so than) kids.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) in the title role, a suburban Cincinnati girl, all of 10, who aspires to be a reporter in print for the local paper as the “Depression is in full-swing.” When times are tough and her father (Chris O’Donnell) must go to Chicago to seek work, Kit and her mother (Julia Ormond) take in boarders to help pay the mortgage and a couple of “hobos” (homeless) to work for food.
One of these kids is Will, a nice young man who works hard. When everyone’s money goes missing as part of a string of local “hobo robberies,” Will is the prime suspect. Can Kit prove he’s innocent? Will she get in print in the process? If you have ask then you haven’t seen a film before.
Though it’s mostly pretty predictable (the second I saw one character early in the film, I darn well knew they were up to no good!), there’s a surprise or two along the way (at least one of which comes straight outta left field).
Still, Breslin leads a committed cast of good actors (including O’Donnell, Ormond, Joan Cusack, Glenne Headly, Jane Krakowski, Stanley Tucci, Wallace Shawn and even Colin Mochary of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame) and the direction by Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park) is thoughtful enough, at least until the end gets sorta slapsticky.
Still, if you think you might wanna see this, you’ll probably like it, and if you don’t, it’s not a “must-see.”