KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL (Patricia Rozema, USA, 2008) — 8
One measure of the strength of KIT KITTREDGE is that I never once guessed that it was based on a doll and could thus in principle have been as easily dismissed as a marketing exercise a la THE MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS.™ Since I am neither a 10-year-old-girl nor the father of one, the “American Girl” series of dolls was something that I first learned about researching to write this review. I’d have sworn blind this movie was based on some new Young Adult literature series, or the equivalent from the 1930s.
Another measure is that I should not like KIT KITTREDGE at all, given how specific it is in terms of sensibility — not only am I am not one now, but I have never been a 10-year-old girl; when I was a 10-year-old boy, you couldn’t have paid me to read “girl books” in case I catch coodies or something (“Encyclopedia Brown” was my favorite); I have no 10-year-old daughter to share a Daddy’s Movie Day with; I generally despise “chick flicks” (see, SEX AND THE CITY; or rather, I didn’t) or anything that strikes me as sentimental (see, SON OF RAMBOW). But KIT KITTREDGE won me over very quickly because Kit herself is so appealing and lovable as a character and Abigail Breslin perfectly embodies her — plucky without being obnoxious, as matter-of-fact as a child who hasn’t yet learned what a heartbreaker the world can be because she is herself still innocent and gentle-spirited. And since your humble writer is a curmudgeon who sympathizes utterly with Mr. Grant’s hatred of Mary’s character and who once (really and truly) said to a colleague, “everyone’s got a right to be perky, but you abuse the privilege” — that’s saying something.