A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that family members and friends enlist to fight in World War II in this movie, and not all of them come back home. One character has been evacuated from London during the Blitz, and her mother was killed in the bombing. Molly's family is extremely close, and they provide support to one another during a family member's absence. They also help neighbors and friends during this difficult time.
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What's the story?
AMERICAN GIRL ON THE HOME FRONT takes place in Jefferson, Ill., in 1943, and Molly McIntyre (Maya Ritter) and her other friends in the third grade are obsessed with movie stars and their lovely teacher, Miss Campbell (Sarah Manninen). Molly's world changes when her doctor father (David Aaron Baker) enlists and her mother Helen (Molly Ringwald) takes a job in a machinery plant. Emily (Tory Green), a young English evacuee, comes to live with the family to escape the London bombing and brings with her personal stories of the war. Molly gets a first-hand understanding of the need to sacrifice in support of the war effort, deferring her own needs and feelings to help the greater good. She learns to empathize with her strict neighbor and the initially reserved Emily, and family support takes center-stage. And, Molly is determination to be crowned "Miss Victory," the lead dancer in a school tap dance show, despite her lack of obvious talents.
Is it any good?
Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front is a heartfelt and entertaining movie. Molly learns about sacrifice, compassion, and self-confidence as she and her family cope with the direct and indirect impacts of World War II. The movie moves along at a good clip, interspersing newsreel footage and radio broadcasts in a manner that educates kids about life on the home front during WWII without them even realizing it. Period costumes, music, and sets make the story sparkle. Ritter is earnest and enthusiastic in her role, and more natural than some of the adult actors in the movie.
As a nice touch, the DVD includes a captivating interview with a woman who tap-danced for USO shows during WWII, with dance instruction so viewers can replicate the Miss Victory tap dance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the types of sacrifices that Molly's family made in support of the war effort: her father, her mother, and Molly herself. They recognized when something needed to be done and didn't wait for others to do it. Are there ways that you can help others around you right now, perhaps focusing on families who have soldiers fighting in the Middle East? What did you learn about life during WWII? How realistic do you think this depiction of the WWII era is?
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