Kit Kittredge is a spunky ten-year-old who is fiercely loyal to her friends, great at solving mysteries, and determined to become a reporter. If you have a daughter between the ages of six and eleven, you likely already know all that. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is inspired by the Kit Kittredge books, which are based on one character in the wildly successful American Girl line of historically set dolls. But don't let the connection between a movie and a doll franchise scare you. This film is artistically light years beyond Strawberry Shortcake cartoons or the nonsense that was Bratz: The Movie. In fact, the doll connection is in some ways unfortunate (despite the tween girl audience it guarantees), because, given a chance, this film will appeal to girls—and boys—of all ages.
Kit Kittredge is set in 1934 Cincinnati. Kit (Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin) is happily occupied with secret meetings of her Tree House Club, not to mention hours at the typewriter diligently working on stories she hopes to pitch to the local newspaper. All is well until the Great Depression begins showing up in the neighborhood. When a family next store to Kit loses their house to foreclosure, it becomes clear that this is one children's movie determined to treat gritty subjects with non-patronizing realism.
Before long, Kit's comfortable middle class life evaporates. Her father (played with all-American heart and everyman charm by Batman and Robin's Chris O'Donnell) loses his car dealership and is forced to temporarily relocate to Chicago in search of work. Kit's mother (Sabrina's lovely Julia Ormond) keeps a brave and resourceful face, opening her home to a quirky assortment of boarders and, much to Kit's initial chagrin, selling ...1