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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
As a writer of women's history, including World War II, this is one of the few films I've seen which really informs. The settings and clothing were accurate. The mix of people was also true to life. But what surprised me the most was that Kit's family came face to face with the personal dilemmas of the Depression. She was not just a child "voyeur", "do-gooder", or "little careerist" removed from the economic and social pressures which is what I had expected. There were a number of very authentic scenes and interchanges. There were also some very interesting characters such as the mobile librarian.
I spoke to a mother as she came out of the theater with her 5 year old (who liked it). She commented that the movie will give youth of today a view of hardship that most don't understand in our now affluent nation. As a child of Depression-era parents that's the truth: both of my parents' families lost wealth due to small town bank failures. My uncle, instead of going to college, had to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs).
With that said, however, as a movie I thought the acting uneven. Some of the dialogue seemed a little canned and some words were too contemporary (e.g., Kit: "I was focused on"). But some of that could also just be my first over-reactive impression. I'd have to see it again, to let it all sink in, for as a total historical package it was a lot to absorb, because you have to assess it at several different levels.
But, whether or not you think this is a good or bad movie, in movie terms, this is an important movie for children to see. It is generally fact-based, has depth, and is as authentic a movie as a wholesome, "uplifting" one for 10-year-olds can be. The American Girl phenomenon is true manna from heaven for those of us interested in giving women a place in history.
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