MPAA Rating: G
Age range: Ages 5 and up
Runtime: 91 minutes
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Joan Cusack, Jane Krakowski, Stanley Tucci, Chris O'Donnell
Release Date: July 2, 2008
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - Summary
Life during the Great Depression has been difficult for many families, but young Kit Kittredge is lucky to live in a well-to-do area where the hard times are little more than dinner conversation. In fact, the most pressing thing on Kit's mind is getting one of her stories published in the local newspaper. An aspiring journalist, Kit may be young, but she is not about to let that stop her.
Kit's ambitious dreams are interrupted, though, when the reality of hard economic times hits her once immune neighborhood -- and her own family. Still, Kit is able to use her writing to help her get through some tough bouts with her new reality. She writes about her feelings as she watches her father lose his car dealership and leave to find work. She documents everything while helping her mother as she makes ends meet by taking in boarders. She also uses her writing to describe the plight of her friend Will and his fellow hobos who come in and out of town looking for work.
Kit's journalistic and sleuthing skills become her only hope, in fact, when a rash of crime which has the community pointing fingers at the hobos -- and at Will in particular -- affects her own home and family. Will her family lose their house? Who is really behind the thefts? and where is her father now that they really need him? She may be a talented writer with a hefty dose of tenacity, but can such a young girl ever hope to grapple with such weighty questions?
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - Guide Review for Parents
I got a lot more than I expected when I went to see Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. I have only read one of the American Girl books, and I was not that impressed. Still, I thought the story of a young girl pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist had promise. But the story is more than that: it is also a story about surviving during the Great Depression. Although the movie is only rated G, it still manages to tell a touching, inspiring, and educational story about a very difficult time in history.
Sure, the story is fictional, but kids will get a sense of what life might have been like during the Depression. Because of this heavy topic, the movie has several scenes which may be sad or unsettling to children, but it will definitely get them thinking about all that they have to be grateful for. The story may also spark a lot of questions and even motivate kids to learn more about this profound time in our history.
In addition to scenes that focus on the economic hardship of the time, parents should know that the movie also portrays some bad attitudes, as some characters mock others for being poor or discriminate against people like the hobos who are down on their luck. Also, there are some potentially frightening scenes which occur when Kit and her friends get into a few perilous situations as they try to uncover the truth behind the rash of crimes.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - Content OverviewThe following lists a few of the most prominent examples of possibly offensive content in the movie (may contain spoilers):
- A man dressed like a hobo steals someone's wallet. Later, a hobo boy who was accused of thefts recounts that someone hit him in the knee which has caused him to limp.
- Some bad guys chase Kit and her friends.
Sex/Nudity (Very low)
- The dance instructor wears short shorts and dances in a way that makes some other women raise their eyebrows. Also, the dance instructor is always hinting at being interested in various men. She obviously wants to find a husband.
- A little girl dresses like a boy to hide her identity.
- At a party, some guests may or may not be drinking alcohol. The hostess asks someone to stay for a drink.
Bad/Disrespectful Behavior (High)
- Kids at school pick on other kids for being poor. They call the kids names, make fun of their fathers who are looking for work, and pull pranks such as causing a child to sit in glue and feathers.
- Adults in the film also discriminate against the poor. One woman comments that in her husband's opinion, people should let the hobos go hungry because it's the best way to keep them out of town.
- A group of people steal from others and blame the hobos for their crimes.
Scary Scenes (Medium)
- Young children may be unsettled by the "hobo jungle," where Kite and her friends walk around somewhat nervously and marvel at the humble circumstances of the people there.
- Kit and her friend hide in the closet when the bad guys come into a room, and they are intensely close to being caught. Later, the bad guys chase Kit and her friends through the forest and into the hobo jungle.
Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Extreme)
- Kids watch as a girl's house gets taken back by the bank.
- Kit is devastated to see her father eating in a soup kitchen. She learns that he will have to go to another city to look for work.
- We find out that a friend of Kit's has not heard from his dad in some time. He writes his mother a letter and pretends that it is from his father so that she will feel better. Kit also worries that her father will never come home.
- Kit's mother and the boarders are devastated when they are robbed. Kit worries that her family will lose their house. She laments that her father has abandoned them during this difficult time.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - Discuss the Movie
- After watching Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,children may have questions about the following topics: the Great Depression, hobos and the plight of hobo children, poor and rich people, showing kindness to the poor, foreclosure, framing someone for a crime they did not commit, taking in boarders, fathers leaving their families to find work, clubs and induction ceremonies (Kit has her friends swear allegiance to her club).