January 10, 2009

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Review

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
PictureHouse, New Line Cinema
Abigail Breslin, Chris O' Donnell, Joan Cusack, Stanley Tucci

Take a good look at the poster. OK, what does it tell you? Kids movie... no, tween movie, right?

Fortunately, everyone else beyond that target audience can watch this, very much so, as it also tackles such an extremely important era (1930's, the Depression, which is what America may go through again) and how one can feel so content and happy despite the hardness of the times.

To be honest, I want to write a synopsis, but that would simply give the whole movie away. While the poster makes the movie seem so light and innocent, it's actually pretty deep. I mean, you as a viewer will also feel the Depression closing in as Kit as her family struggles to barely survive it, yet you will also feel a certain thrill in the mystery that occurs halfway through the movie. I don't really know the thing the movie wants to be- an allegory for these modern times of economic slowdown, or simply a mystery, or both. Perhaps both, and if it is, the balance doesn't really feel as if it was nailed.

Whatever the case, you'll find that Kittredge is a rather fresh breath of air in an era of really dark movies. It manages to tackle a really heavy issue in a somehow timely manner, yet it manages to keep a shining, smiling demeanor. Perhaps it's Abigail Breslin? Her dollish appearance seems to radiate off the screen all throughout, and her acting is just fine, but nothing spectacular.

Perhaps a Mr. Jackie Cooper sums it all up for me- "More depth than you would expect"- and it's true. There's a lot of depth in what seems like a simplistic tale, and it thinks that its audience is intelligent. This is the kind of movie that can hold off the short attention spans, and make kids become inquisitive, or if not, be lost in thought about the economic landscape.

One thing I hate about it, really, is the fact that the ending is just so cheesy, and some moments are all too predictable. The fact that it surprises you in its mystery-book-like roll out, however, pretty much makes up for it.

It's bright and whimsical enough to be extremely advisable for kids, but not shallow enough to turn off all the others- I simply can't stress it enough. If you're looking for a nice family flick that's not shallow but still enjoyable, Kit Kittredge is the one to play on your DVD player.

Rating: 8.5/10

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