Kindhearted Samantha Parkington's world starts to change the day Nellie O'Malley walks into her life. Nellie, her father, and her two little sisters have moved in next door to be servants for the Ryland family. Though they come from completely different backgrounds, Samantha and Nellie become fast friends. The girls turn to each other in happiness and sorrow, adventure and danger, and grow to be as close as even two sisters could be. But nothing could prepare them for the life-altering surprises that lie ahead! Written by
American Girl Website
Even though Samantha is said to grown up in the "Victorian" world technically she grew up in the "Edwardian" world, since the movie is dated in 1904, three years after Queen Victoria's reign. See more »
Obviously, the target audience for a movie like this is young girls who love the American Girls Collection. But within that, it is a thoroughly enjoyable treat, made specifically for kids but not at all the sort of movie that will drive grown-ups crazy.
The story is sweet and simple, but heartwarming, about a rich little girl named Samantha growing up in 1904. The script takes the various adventures from the Samantha books in the American Girls Collection, from Samantha's friendship with servant girl Nellie to the wedding of Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia to Samantha's speaking contest at her school in New York City, and blends them together in a very satisfying way- sure to please any girl who has the doll or has read the books! And perhaps what makes this "kid's movie" more appealing to the entire family is the inclusion of the historic happenings of 1904 America, when the motor car was an exciting new invention and the Suffrage movement had begun. This is, of course, the basis of the American Girls Collection and it's a wonderful way to bone up on your history and be entertained at the same time (hey, I didn't know that's when showers were invented!).
AnnaSophia Robb, who plays the title role, is quite a familiar face to family audiences, having starred as Opal in Because of Winn-Dixie and as the infamous gum-chewing, girl-turned-blueberry Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. AnnaSophia is a very talented young actress, and she plays the role of Samantha with a nice combination of sweetness and spunk (and she's cute without being cutesy, which is always a relief for the grown-ups). In fact, most of the cast is stellar, and Jordan Bridges (son of Beau Bridges) plays fun-loving Uncle Gard with a blend of charm and realism. Surprisingly enough, Mia Farrow, who plays Samantha's proper Grandmary and is undoubtedly the most famous performer in the lineup, is a trifle stilted and seems to be upstaged by the rest of the troop.
The fact that there are only two or three males in the entire show indicates that this is not really a boy's movie (I'm a grown-up boy, so I have permission to watch these kinds of movies and not be embarrassed anymore). Still, this is terrific family entertainment, for girls who love the American Girls, and for anyone who loves to walk away from a movie feeling good!
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