A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Accepting change with grace, preserving memories of loved ones, helping those who are less fortunate, learning when to ask for help. The cruel operator of an orphanage doesn't get away with her bad behavior.
Violence & Scariness
A young factory worker is injured when his finger gets caught in a sewing machine. The injury is not seen, but it's implied that it's fairly gruesome.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple kiss at their wedding.
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Products & Purchases
The movie is based on Samantha, a doll in the popular "American Girl" collection. Although the movie itself does not include products, the packaging includes a coupon for $10 off an American Girl purchase. A special feature provides a tour of the American Girl store in New York City, which sells a variety of merchandise related to the dolls.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the movie explores some sensitive storylines, such as socioeconomic differences and how children cope with the death of parents -- the main character is an orphan being raised by her grandmother. The DVD does a good, thoughtful job of addressing these issues. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
SAMANTHA: AN AMERICAN GIRL HOLIDAY beautifully brings to life both New York in the year 1904 and one of the dolls from the American Girl collection. Originally airing on TV, this story is a poignant portrait of a girl trying to make a difference. The obvious class difference between Samantha and her neighbors is handled skillfully in this movie, and Samantha understands how she can make a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Indeed, the movie portrays Samantha as a role model for young girls. However, she is also a believable character who sometimes uses poor judgment, as when she convinces Nellie to sneak out for a turn-of-the-century sleepover in the boathouse, or when she nobly tries to rescue the three sisters from a grim orphanage.
The film also provides an interesting history lesson about this era by incorporating elements such as the opening of New York City's subway system and even the advent of bathroom showers. The movie has a strong social conscience, as well, evident in how Cornelia is portrayed as a suffragette working for a woman's right to vote, or how a sweatshop is depicted as a harsh environment that abuses the child-laborers it employs. Samantha becomes a "crusader" in her own right, organizing a coat drive for orphans and speaking out about the negative aspects of industrialization in a climactic speech contest.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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