A Family Film Worth Celebrating?

Roger Ebert is just one of the film critics singing the praises of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to go see a movie based on a dress-up doll for girls. Why? Well, there are the reviews. And then there’s the fact that it was directed by Patricia Rozema, who directed the magnificent, underrated Mansfield Park.

Roger Ebert says:

Considering that it is inspired by one of the dolls in the American Girl product line, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” is some kind of a miracle: an actually good movie. I expected so much less. I was waiting for some kind of banal product placement, I suppose, and here is a movie that is just about perfect for its target audience, and more than that. It has a great look, engaging performances, real substance and even a few whispers of political ideas, all surrounding the freshness and charm of Abigail Breslin, who was 11 when it was filmed.

This movie, intelligently and sincerely directed by Patricia Rozema (“Mansfield Park“), does not condescend. It does not cheapen or go for easy laughs. It is as serious about Kit as she is about herself, and doesn’t treat her like some (indignant exclamation) dumb girl. If you have or know or can borrow a girl (or a boy) who collects the American Girl dolls, grab onto that child as your excuse to see this movie. You may enjoy it as much as they do — maybe more, with its period costumes, settings and music.

More reviews from surprised critics are piling up here.

  • Facebook
Over the Moon: A Critic in Top Form
Roger Ebert on "Les Miserables"
First Impressions of Steve James' Film About Roger Ebert: Life Itself
A Three-Star Rant About Thumbs (or, Why I Won't "Rate" Movies)
About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.

  • sanjuro68

    Remind me again: why are the dolls “deplorable”?

  • http://www.campbell.edu/coas/english/index.html elrambo

    I remain skeptical, because I still think the movie is bound to promote the deplorable dolls. Nevertheless, I’ll just say that the last time something like this happened–a product-based movie turning out surprisingly better than the original product–may have been the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Now that was fun.

  • http://cinexcellence.com striderdemme

    Hmm. That’s interesting.

  • http://imagesflicker.blogspot.com/ mayrock

    Morgenstern at WSJ really liked ‘Kittredge’ as well:


    The clip of the film in the article looks good. To be honest, I haven’t had much inclination to see anything as of yet, in the summer crop of movies. This is one that may drag me into the theater.

  • nathanshorb

    But be wary; Roger Ebert seems to be a bit off his game lately, giving positive reviews to The Happening and The Zohan, and being more than generous to a few select others.

    On the bright side, he isn’t praising The Love Guru.