Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

This has to be the most sanitized, politically correct, enjoyable Great Depression movie I have ever seen! You know going in, that it will have a happy ending, and you are going to enjoy getting there.

Let's start with an eminently likeable cast:
  • Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine" and "Nim's Island") is the eponymous "Kit," a sunny, Pollyanna-ish "tween" with aspirations to be a newspaper reporter, based on the popular series of stories by Valerie Tripp (shades of Nancy Drew, huh?).
  • Julia Ormond ("Sabrina" - 1995 - and "Smilla's Sense of Snow") as Kit's sensible, hardworking mother.
  • Chris O'Donnell ("Circle of Friends" and "Cookie's Fortune"), all grown up, still handsome, and reassuringly believable as her loving father.
  • Joan Cusack ("In and Out" and "Martian Child") with a padded behind and sensible shoes, is the librarian who drives (albeit badly!) the 1930s vintage bookmobile.
  • Max Thieriot ("Jumper" and "Nancy Drew") is a young hobo accused of theft. (My Goodness! He shore is purdy!)
  • Jane Krakowski ("Dance with Me" and "Alfie" - 2004) plays a dance instructor who is one of the boarders in the Kittredge family home.
  • Stanley Tucci ("Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Devil Wears Prada") is a boarder who makes his living as a magician.
  • Wallace Shawn ("The Princess Bride" and "Clueless") is the editor of the Cincinnati newspaper. I smiled over this delicious bit of casting because his father was William Shawn, legendary editor of the New Yorker Magazine.
  • Grace, a lugubrious Bassett hound.

Of course there are the necessary best friends, classmates and neighbors who fill out the cast. The art direction is impeccable with the 1930s evoked in the music, clothing, brand names, street signs, food, automobiles and furnishings. The children were more opposed to clothing made from flour or feed sacks than when I used to wear them, but of course, Kit, with her indomitably upbeat attitude, prevails. Suffice it to say, this movie has lots of excitement for a "tween" and serves up a happy ending with a few good moral lessons to boot.