Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: Kit Kittredge

If the Halloween store near me can open two months before Halloween, I can post about a Thanksgiving movie now.

I love Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. I watch it every time I can, which means way more than is socially acceptable for a childless woman in her late 20s. I’ve made many groups of friends watch this movie, which is probably why my best friend is Netflix. Maybe I love it because I never owned an American Girl doll, and this is my juvenile way of coming to terms with that fact. Maybe it’s because I am far less dead inside than I think. Maybe I just really love Thanksgiving.

I watch it and sob through about half of it because it’s a perfect storm of everything in a movie that makes me cry.

I drew a diagram to prove it.

Yes. I drew this by hand. I have many skills. Patience with crashing software is not one of them.
Yes. I drew this by hand. I have many skills. Patience with crashing software is not one of them.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is the major motion picture trying to capitalize on the sometimes cloying, saccharine goodness of the American Girl books. It was not the first to do that. Kit is trying to be an intrepid girl reporter during the Depression, investigating crime and painting real portraits of Depression-era life. The movie deals with the many ways people and their families coped during the Depression, with a side-plot of a crime spree mytery that serves to add some humor and intrigue into a pretty heavy kids’ movie. Look, I can’t really get more specific because the movie boils down to just Kit learning some stuff while coming of age during the Depression, which, isn’t that enough? You’ll see from my list of plot points below, apparently to the filmmakers, it was not.

A Visual Summary
A Visual Summary

Times You Will (Maybe, Probably) Cry During Kit Kittredge

  • When you see Kit’s awesome treehouse and wish you could go back to your childhood and have one like that.
  • When you realize you’re watching a movie based on the American Girl Dolls.
  • When Kit’s neighbors’ house gets foreclosed on. (TONE SHIFT.)
  • When Countee and Will, two homeless kids, come to the Kittredge home looking for work.
  • When Kit sees her dad at the soup kitchen getting food and she realizes that’s why he’d been skipping meals at home.
  • When Kit’s dad leaves to go look for a job in Chicago.
  • When Kit’s classmate Sterling comes to live with Kit’s family because they also lost their home.
  • When Kit visits the “hobo” community.
  • When Kit and her friends meet Mr. Pennington who says that when he makes money for his family, he will finally send for them.
  • When Kit and her mom discuss selling eggs to save money.
  • When Sterling reveals that the person sending his mother letters and money is actually him because he knows his father abandoned them.
Look at this kid. THIS KID WAS MADE TO MAKE YOU CRY.
Look at this kid. THIS KID WAS MADE TO MAKE YOU CRY.
  • Whenever Kit’s mom looks frustrated and sad and hassled because of the struggle of maintaining her home alone, with a houseful of equally helpless boarders (aka every time she is onscreen).
  • When Kit writes her father an angry letter about his lack of communication, but then takes it back.
  • When the homeless community protects Kit from the criminals as Kit proves the community’s innocence.
  • When the entire homeless community brings food to share Thanksgiving dinner with Kit’s family.
  • When Kit’s father comes home for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • When Countee reads.
  • When Sterling tells Mr. Pennington to write his family because Sterling knows what it’s like to be abandoned by his dad.

Was that too much for you, or not enough? This is a family movie, that is supposed to teach you about how grateful you should be for everything you have, I guess.

The second best part about this movie (the first being it’s cathartic crying triggering abilities), is the appearance of everyone who was relevant in the ’90s and some kind of famous kids.

KKAAG-KitJack
Abigail Breslin as Kit and ’90s dream boy/Robin in the Batman movies with the nipple suits, Chris O’Donnell as her dad.
KKAAG-Margaret
Julia Ormond (aka the woman in the center of every ’90s movie love triangle, i.e. Sabrina, First Knight, Legends of the Fall) as Kit’s mother.
KKAAG-WallaceShawn
Wallace Shawn as newspaper editor, Mr. Gibson.
KKAAG-JoanCusack
Joan Cusack making the most Joan Cusack face, as traveling librarian (which is a job I didn’t know I wanted until now), Miss Bond.
KKAAG-JaneKrakowski
Jane Krakowski singing and dancing as dance instructor Miss Dooley, just like Jenna Maroney would want, but with fewer desperate cries for attention.
KKAAG-StanleyTucci
Stanley Tucci as magician, Jefferson Berk. The magic is in that mustache.
KKAAG-ColinMochrie
Colin Mochrie as Mr. Pennington. Now here’s some Whose Line is it Anyway.
KKAAG-Countee
Willow Smith as Countee, the cutest child ever.

I’m not sorry about throwing that Whose Line montage in there, this movie is pretty bleak for a fluffy children’s adventure movie.

Ultimately the movie is about family, however you define it or adapt it, which is probably why I cry. It’s about children learning to sacrifice and grow in order to protect their families. It’s about the harsh realities of life, presented in a fairly sugar coated package. Even though those two things feel somewhat at odds, if you’re easily manipulated by coming of age movies like I am, you will probably bawl your eyes out.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is on Amazon Instant.

 

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Karishma

Karishma is a twenty-something living in New York City and is trying her hardest to live out every cliche about Millennials. This involves eating her feelings, drowning in debt and mocking infomercials. She likes sociology so much that she has two degrees in it, and is still warding off her parents' questions about a real career.

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