Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Movie Poster Image

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Sweet and engaging adventure for all ages.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Even though the rich pick on the poor, the disenfranchised pick on hobos and are rude to them, and young bullies needle other children, Kit and her friends work together to rise above the fray, and they do the right thing. Kit's mother is truly a rock, a stabilizing force in a turbulent time.

Violence & scariness

No outright violence, though two men who appear to be thieves bicker, and bullies at school pick on children who are perceived to be poor. Thieves also chase down children who've figured out that they're criminals.

Sexy stuff

Very mild flirtation between two characters.


"Moron" is as strong as it gets.


Period-accurate product placement, like the National Trailways bus line, Smoot's Board House, etc. More notably, this film is part of the American Girl family, a hugely popular brand among young girls and tweens that includes toys, books, DVDs, and much more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids (especially girls) who are familiar with the vast array of American Girl products (dolls, books, DVDs, etc.) will definitely want to see this movie. The good news is that it's entertaining and even thought-provoking, so it doesn't feel like just a way to sell more stuff (though it probably will do exactly that). And it doesn't depart from the age-appropriateness of the brand -- if anything, it's even tamer than some of the direct-to-DVD movies. There's no swearing; very little violence; and plenty of positive messages. Even kids who've never read an American Girl book will have plenty to enjoy.

What's the story?

Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) dreams of being a big-shot journalist. But her local paper, the Cincinnati Register, won't publish her articles -- the editor tells her that he wants stories that are fresh, new, groundbreaking. As it turns out, Kit doesn't have to look far for inspiration. It's the Great Depression: Banks are foreclosing on her neighbors' houses, her friends are moving away to stay with relatives, and her father's (Chris O'Donnell) car dealership has gone belly up, leaving him with few choices but to head to Chicago to look for work. Meanwhile, her mother (Julia Ormond) has taken in boarders to meet the mortgage, a lively bunch that includes a magician (Stanley Tucci), an oddball "mobile" librarian (Joan Cusack), a dancer (Jane Krakowski), Kit's mom's friend Mrs. Howard (Glenne Headly), and her son, Kit's classmate Stirling (Zach Mills).

Is it any good?


Refreshingly earnest and surprisingly moving, KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL is family fare that's anything but basic. Though the plot is fairly standard -- a feisty young girl encounters hardships but finds the sunny side of the street with the help of supportive, loving parents and friends and her own unshakable faith in mankind -- it aims for depth. The movie's efforts to educate audiences about the Great Depression are admirable (a few Depression scenes actually get a bit gloomy, which might briefly unsettle young viewers). And it manages to inform without losing its sense of fun. Kudos are largely due to Breslin, who embraces the role of determined Kit with gusto, though the rest of the cast is strong, too (Cusack is uproarious, as usual).

But among the characters, only Kit seems particularly multi-dimensional. Ormond does her best with the quietly suffering mother role, and although O'Donnell still has lots of presence, he doesn't get to do much here except twirl Kit around whenever he comes home. Some purists may balk at the sets as well -- though laden with period details, they still look somewhat modern on the big screen. Kit's street still seems like a present-day Cincinnati neighborhood, though not for lack of trying. Still, in the end, it's hard not to be affected by this charming adventure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why kids want to see this movie -- is it because of the story or because they're already familiar with the American Girl brand? If kids are already familiar with Kit's story from the book, ask them how well the movie brings it to life. How does it compare to what they imagined? Families can also discuss what they learned about the Great Depression from watching the movie. Did you know what a hobo was? Why do they make people nervous? Why is it important that Kit's family welcomes hobos and boarders into their home?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 2, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:October 27, 2008
Cast:Abigail Breslin, Joan Cusack, Julia Ormond
Director:Patricia Rozema
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters, Great girl role models, History
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl was written by

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Kid, 9 years old December 29, 2009


This was great. Children 6- might not understand it though.Abigal Breslin is an amazing actress. She's in three movies that I've seen. I saw this movie with my whole family. This took place in the great depression. ( No offense but in the mess we're in now we might go back a little. I'm not saying this about just Obama. Don't you know our country is in a mess?) So about The Great Depression, yes that was a very tough time for citizens. It was sad. All those people going for bread and soup at that place. People losing jobs. Losing houses. Losing money. Trying to at least have food and water. Trying to live. This movie had great heart and taught you that you can fight. And that you shouldn't ever give up. That's only the education value. The great message is that was that you kinda gotta help and be a troper like Kit. Kit was a great role model. This is great for kids sevan and up if your six y.o is mature enough sure. I really don't see why not. This movie was sweet.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 15 year old Written byNerdy_Mamma January 10, 2010
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old January 24, 2010


Hi, I'm ten years old and i think this is a fantastic film for ages 8+ it show how life was in the Great Depression. This is a great family movie and i really encourage you to watch it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models