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'Kit Kittredge: An American Mystery' centers around a young girl living in the struggles of the Great Depression. 10 year old Kit lives in a boarding house her parents own in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a passion for writing, & dreams of having something of hers put in the local paper someday. With the help of her friends, Sterling & Ruthie, will her dream finally come true? Written by
American girls, including older gals like me, will enjoy this one very much, Breslin shines brightly!
Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) is the only child of a Cincinnati couple in the 1930's. An aspiring newspaper reporter, Kit spends some time in her room, tapping out her stories on an old typewriter. Her father (Chris O'Donnell) owns a car dealership and her very pretty mother (Julia Ormond) takes care of their lovely home, where she often hosts garden teas. But, the Great Depression is gripping the nation and soon Mr. Kittredge is out of work and traveling to Chicago to look for a new job. Meanwhile, Mrs. Kittredge is forced to take in boarders to make ends meet, including a dancer (Jane Krakowski), a magician (Stanley Tucci), a mobile librarian (Joan Cusack), an uptight mother (Glenne Headley) and her young son. Also arriving on the Kittredge's doorstep are two young hobos, teenager Will (Max Thieriot) and pre-teen County (Willow Smith). These latter two youngsters will do any odd jobs in exchange for food and Mrs. K. welcomes them over the objections of neighbors. But, will the Kittredge family save their home? Also, will Kit see her fondest wish and get published, all the while solving the mystery of who took her family's safety box of money and other costly possessions? This is a nice, nice film for American families with young girls. Breslin is enchanting in the title role, exhibiting her sweet spunk and contagious enthusiasm at all times. The supporting cast is likewise wonderful, with O'Donnell very fine as the sensitive father and Ormond, especially, doing a terrific turn as the beautiful, courageous mother. All of the other supporting cast members previously mentioned, along with Wallace Shawn as a stuffy newspaper editor, fulfill their roles handily, too, with special mention extended to young Willow Smith for her nice interpretation of the part of a young drifter with a big secret. The film looks sensational, from the Kittredge's gorgeous home and grounds to the costumes to the wonderful cinematography. As to the script, it is a nice combination of history, intrigue, and the triumph of the human spirit, especially the hope and new possibilities that children bring into the world. Even though the direction could have been a bit snappier, the film rolls along nicely, too. In short, this is a lovely film for young girls and their families, with abundant laughs, lessons, and love. Do skedaddle over to the nearest theater and make time for Kit and company. Then, head to the library as well, for the books which inspired the film are very, very fine indeed.
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