Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 15, 2011
It's not a movie just for little girls, it is a great history lesson for a lot of people, but it could have been great without the American Girl logo, which made it really embarassing for some guys to go see, but its just an okay movie.
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2010
Kit Kittredge is a kid growing up in the early 1930's when everyone was losing their jobs, and families had to diversify to pay the bills. Kit's family took in boarders which brought a number of interesting characters to the film. This movie is part solve-a-mystery and part Kit-wants-to-be-a-reporter.
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2008
Isn't interested in portraying the grim lifestyles of the Depression but rather creates a faux-American Girl doll populated imitation of one. This movie aims more to remind me of the doll confections if anything else. But it's cute and family friendly and all that. Thesps Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci are over-the-top and FUN. And Abigail Breslin is incredibly adorable and natural.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2008
Once again, we have another film from under the radar that is a nice watch for the entire family. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl has a little bit of everything. Actually, it doesn't have robots, military soldiers, spaceships, monsters ... you get the picture.The story is a little deceiving. At first glance it seems like this movie will be about Kit Kittredge becoming a reporter for the Cincinnati Register. It is about that, but the main focus is on a crime investigation, which makes this story more like a mystery.An interesting fact about the story is that "Hobos" are a big part of it. The movie does show how they are seen in the Great Depression years.The story doesn't actually fly by, but it isn't necessarily a slow burn either. There are a good variety of characters to watch and the younger ones tend to liven up the picture. This flick also gets most of the emotional drama out of the way in the earlier parts before having it return for a happy ending, a happy ending, and another happy ending.Abigal Breslin has already proven that she can carry a film and this one is no exception. All the supporting actors fit in as well. Some of these include Joan Cusack, Chris O'Donnell, Julia Ormond, Jane Krakowski, and Stanley Tucci. Even Colin Mochrie is up to par.This is not just a movie for kids as adults will find this just as enjoyable. Don't be ashamed to spend 100 minutes of your life with this film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2008
Kitt Kittredge is a nice vehicle for the popular Abigail Breslin. After Little Miss Sunshine she may be the most saught after child actress in Hollywood. And deservingly so. She's cute, likeable, and talented. The film itself is quality family entertainment probably because it's so emotionally involving and it's serious side prevails over it's cutesy kiddy side. The little mystery that Kitt and her friends solve is fine, but it's the real Depression era hardships that Kitt's and many other families have to brave that makes the film above average. It starts out very sad, almost too much so, but culminates in a sweetly satisfying way that begs for Tiny Tim to cry out, "God bless us everyone!"
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2011
It's not a movie just for little girls, it is a great history lesson for a lot of people, but it could have been great without the American Girl logo, which made it really embarassing for some guys to go see, but its just an okay movie.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2009
In "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl," 10-year old Kit(Abigail Breslin) dreams of being a reporter, even submitting an article to the local newspaper on the Chicago World's Fair but the editor(Wallace Shawn in the role he was born to play) rejects it, stating that everyone else has already written about it. Since this is 1934, jobs are scarce anyway, and Kit's mother(Julia Ormond) helps out by giving odd jobs around the house to a pair of hoboes. Things get worse when Kit's dad(Chris O'Donnell) loses his car dealership to the bank, forcing him to go to Chicago in search of work, promising to write every week. Kit's mother has no choice but to subdivide the house(but thankfully not Kit's treehouse) in order to rent it out to boarders...

Directed by Patricia Rozema, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" proves the old adage that any movie with a basset hound in it cannot be all bad. In fact, this is a charming and entertaining movie that does not ignore the harsh realities of the time that forced families apart, not the other way around. And a more than capable cast makes up for any holes the otherwise thin story might contain.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2009
It was entertaining but not as good as the other three American Girl movies. I did like it though.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2008
Despite Breslin's default winning nature, the film itself proves wholesome to a fault.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2008
Not bad. Kinda cute.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2008
I don't know what the F this is. Was this straight to video?
August 22, 2015
I was surprised that I liked this movie at all - I've watched several of the American Girl films with my elementary-age daughter, and mostly they are more after-school-special than traditional film. This one is different. Not only does it have a lot more humor, but it has a lot of sad moments - especially considering the historical setting near the end of the Great Depression. It gave me a chance to explain a little bit of the history of America to my own American girl, which was kind of cool.
June 20, 2012
It maybe sad - due to the Great Depression setting - and was marketed for kids - mainly girls - but it's surprisingly enjoyable for anyone of all ages by the heart. (B+)

(Full review coming soon - with better wording probably)
½ July 21, 2014
I got to be honest and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I enjoyed this very much. In real movie standards, it's not great, but by family movie standards, it's really entertaining. It doesn't feel like just a commercial to sell the dolls and books ( I don't have any of those, in case you were wondering ) but it has some fun characters and a good plot that it sometimes a little thought provocative. It has something for everyone.
January 22, 2013
Wasn't terrible. It had Joan Cusak AND Stanley Tucci! Otherwise it had some interesting plot threads. I don't know, it surprised me a bit.
½ January 15, 2012
This was suprisingly a very cute film. It had a great cast and it really focused on issues that are becoming relevant in today's economy.
November 4, 2010
Considering I don't even remember this particular American Girl it was okay. This was apparently an addition when it stopped being kewl in my age group, or it was because I never really got into them. It was predicable but at least it was one of those if the adults got stuck watching it too they wouldn't want to hurt themselves at the end.
½ April 30, 2010
Charming if Uninspired

Children are generally less affected by the realities of the world than adults. I remember being poor as a child, but a classmate of mine--you couldn't really call him a friend--had a really weird view of what that meant. Other people I knew had a desperate scorn of shopping at low-price stores. Practicality didn't much enter into it. I still twitch over certain brand names in fashion and shoes because the idea that someone couldn't afford them didn't enter into my classmates' heads. I have often said that there is a difference between rural poor, urban poor, and suburban poor, and we were suburban poor. The poverty shown here mostly is as well, though a couple of characters are established to have been from a farm in Texas. It can also be described as genteel poverty, which I can agree is different from how people picture poverty. Arguably, most of my friends are living in genteel poverty now, for a given definition of "genteel."

Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin in a blonde wig) lives in suburban Cincinnati. Her father (Chris O'Donnell) works for a car dealership, and her mother (Julia Ormond) is a typical '30s housewife. It's 1932, and the Depression hasn't touched them. Only now, it's starting to. Their neighbours' house gets foreclosed on. Kit's father loses his job and goes to Chicago in an attempt to find a new one. They meet clean-cut hobos Will Shepherd (Max Thieriot) and Countee Garby (Willow Smith). They take in boarders, including Stanley Tucci as a magician, Joan Cusack as a mobile librarian, and Jane Krakowski as a dance instructor. Kit and her interchangeable friends deal with the astonishing suddenness of poverty. Kit tries to write an article which would get printed in the local paper by editor Wallace Shawn despite the fact that she's a child, which would pretty much make her more a novelty than a genuine reporter. And then, of course, the money for the mortgage gets stolen, and Kit and her interchangeable friends try to solve the mystery and clear her hobo friends.

There really is an astonishing cast to this movie. It feels as though all these people were doing another movie for their kids, with the distinct difference that this one was actually worth watching. (Wallace Shawn doesn't have kids mentioned on IMDB, but I'm never sure why he does anything but art films, especially since he firmly declares that he has no sense of humour but is always cast for laughs.) There are three Oscar nominees in this, including our title character. (Who was the fourth-youngest Oscar nominee in the field of Best Supporting Actress, which is weird given how major her character was. It's what they usually do for child actors--they get supporting instead of lead.) With very few exceptions, every time a new adult character stepped onscreen, I recognized them. One of the hobos is Colin Mochrie. Kit's horrible great-uncle was Agent Cooper's old partner and current nemesis, who also tied up the Mountie. It got kind of weird after a while.

The political aspects of the Depression are kind of danced around. There are several references to the New Deal--Kit has a brother who's off in the Civilian Conservation Corps, I believe, and sending money home. (Interestingly, in California at least, it's a New Deal program which is still going. Because it's a good idea.) A couple of the kids say that all jobless/homeless people are bums sucking off the government. Uncle Windom Earle is very firm on the subject, showering scorn on the brother for having the job while having equal scorn for the father for not being able to find one. The ever-popular opinion that all those people deserve what they get is aired. They're all criminals. One of the stories Kit can't sell is how the people in the "hobo jungle" are decent. They help one another. They share what little they have. However, the automatic assumption when thefts start happening in the area is that it is someone from that jungle who has done it. Though we never see vigilantes breaking up the camp.

Amusingly, one of the symbols of my own poverty was the American Girls catalogue. I was astonished by how much people spent on dolls. And the accessories--books and outfits and outfits for the doll owners and so forth. This was in the early days, and there were already a dozen or so possibilities. I was not much older than Kit, I think, when I first was exposed to it. I had felt poverty sooner, though, and so I was astonished at the beginning of the movie when Kit said the Depression hadn't touched them yet. It had been going on for three years. Recovery was just about to start. True, the film is set right about the time of maximum unemployment--25%--but still. It comes as an absolute shock to these kids when people start losing homes and jobs, and Kit literally cannot believe the changes in her life would ever have come to her. The other kids, and even the adults, go in with the impression that it will never happen to them. Arguably, that kind of blindness is part of what caused the problem in the first place.
½ March 29, 2010
Poorly plotted children's adaptation

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kit Kittredge is a 10 year old aspiring journalist who lives in an upper middle-class suburb of Cincinnati in 1934. Through a family connection, she boldly calls upon the publisher of a major Cincinnati newspaper and asks him to publish an article she's written. Somehow I was thinking that it might have been more interesting if the plot had gone in a different direction from the beginning. Instead of being turned down and not getting her article published until the movie is just about over (and that's the way the plot actually plays out), it might have been more interesting if somehow Kit enlists an adult to get herself published and then her articles become a sensation. Kit becomes a young "Cyrano" with her adult friend (perhaps the 19 year old gopher who Kit was put in contact with by her brother at the beginning of the film) attempts to keep the ruse going, with the publisher and the co-workers at the newspaper in the dark until the film's climax. In my 'alternative' scenario, Kit is found out at the end and 'exposed'; she falls from grace but is redeemed after her final article exposes a team of con men who have been preying upon the good members of the community.

As it turns out, The Kittredge 'First Act' is replete with politically correct, anachronistic ideas. The 'hobos' are nothing more than a stand-in for today's immigrants while the kids whose families are lucky enough to escape the ravages of the Depression, mouth platitudes in school about the hobos not working and getting "government handouts". The rich kids are equated with the conservative, right-wing Republicans of today.

The film's second act begins when Kit's father loses his car dealership (it's interesting that he was still able to have a thriving business as late as 1934!). The father decides to pack his bags and go to Chicago to find new employment. Kit's mother is forced to take in boarders much to Kit's chagrin. Here's where the film really starts dragging. Instead of introducing the antagonist, the plot focuses on introducing us to the collection of oddball characters who inhabit the boarding house. The machinations of these characters are supposed to be amusing but they are merely foolish (there are one too many scenes with Miss Bond, the mobile librarian, crashing her truck in the front yard along with the undeveloped character Miss Dooley who happens to be a dancer of sorts). Then there's Mr. Berk, played by Stanley Tucci, who wows the kids with his magic tricks (another scene that did not have to go on as long as it did).

In addition to the boarders, Kit meets two Hobo children, Will and Countee and decides to investigate the Hobo 'way of life'. Implausibly, Kit's mother allows her to go to a hobo camp to do some 'research' for one of her articles, but wouldn't you know it the hobos are a bunch of wonderful people (despite police reports of many robberies committed by various members of their group). Much too late in the story, the Hobo children are accused of stealing all the boarders' valuables which Kit's mother had placed in what she believed to be a 'safe place'.

By Act III, we've finally discovered that Mr. Berk, the magician, his associate and Miss Bond are a bunch of con artists who have been victimizing poor boarding house denizens all over the city. Since they are a bunch of clumsy fools (buffoons), Kit easily figures out (with the assistance of her young buddies) that they're the one's who framed poor Will; he's soon exonerated and the police now arrest the magician and his buddy after they are exposed by Kit and company.

The denouement is unsatisfying as well. Kit's father returns from Chicago and inexplicably hasn't been able to find one job there. So he reassures Kit that he intends to remain in Cincinnati (despite the fact that there is still no work for him there). Finally, the newspaper publisher arrives and announces that he's published Kit's first article. Instead of becoming an exciting muckraker from the beginning, Kit's new found fame comes a little too late in the storyline.

Unfortunately, little Abigail Breslin is once again used by adults for nefarious purposes. In the insufferable "Little Miss Sunshine", she ends up dancing in a sexually suggestive way at the end of the movie (it's supposed to be "cute" but in reality is a cynical attempt by the films' scenarists to promote an elitist agenda?modern day beatniks trumping beauty pageant snobs). Here little Abigail is also used to promote another modern-day form of elitism: the victims of today's economic woes get their shots in at today's fat cats (no doubt Corporate Executive types who get big bonuses). At least here the 'anything goes' philosophy of 'Little Miss Sunshine' is no longer operative but little Abigail once again comes off as overly pushy and aggressive(and certainly not 'cute').

In the end, 'Kittredge' patronizes both adults and children alike. The film's scenarists were afraid to expose children to a dose of reality. The Depression here is reduced to a Hallmark Greeting Card with villains who are buffoons and heroes who can do no wrong. What it needed to be was another 'Wizard of Oz' with a wicked witch antagonist who is actually scary and evil and protagonists (such as Dorothy and her buddies) who have real-life, honest-to-goodness, human foibles.
December 15, 2009
It seems certain critics expect a movie for kids to be as frenetic as an MTV video. They seem to forget that not all kids live in New York and are more inclined to absorb more deeply at a slower pace.

A story about a time in what is for them the distant past should be allowed to unfold at the speed of life in that time in place, when there was not TV or Internet and a New York minute sill had sixty seconds.

I will admit I thought Joan Cusack was a little over the top for the circumstances but the majority of the cast appeared to be sensitive to the time and palce.

It was nice to have a story that wasn't obviously preachy and fit well with the times. It was not impossible for a girl to get an article published in the local paper.

I think I can safely rate this a not to be missed film for kids on cable.
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