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4 Kid Favorites: American Girl (DVD)
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4 Kid Favorites: American Girl (DVD)
Own four live-action movies based on American Girl's most popular characters: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Samantha: An American Girl Holiday Felicity: An American Girl Adventure Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front]]>
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This dvd has the movies for: Kit, Samantha, Molly, and Felicity. You might recognize the actress for Felicity: she's played by Shailene Woodley, who is Tris in the Divergent series movies (the last of which, Allegiant, was just released). All of the American Girl movies are well done: period costumes, plot lines that are particular to the time period, and they are totally CLEAN. No worries about whether these movies are suitable for young audiences. They DO NOT have any objectionable language or sex scenes. Each one also teaches a moral message about friendship.
If you have American Girl fans in the house and they have the dolls and/or have read the books, they will LOVE these movies.
Felicity: This film is set in 1775 Colonial Williamsburg and features 10-year-old tomboyish Felicity (Shailene Woodley) whose mother wishes her to be a proper gentlewoman. Instead Felicity chafes against the strictures imposed upon females of that time and wishes instead to ride freely astride her horse and gets into further adventures by befriending and helping an abused horse belonging to a brute of a man, Jiggy Nye. Young viewers also learn about American history such as the conflict between the loyalists (to England) and the patriots who wish to be free of England's rule.
Samantha: This film focuses on Samantha Parkington (played by the talented Anna Sophia Robb who was also in “Bridge to Terabithia”, another family favorite) who is a rich orphan living with her grandmother, Grandmere (played by Mia Farrow) in a grand home near the Hudson River in New York. Samantha is a compassionate, intelligent, and pleasant young woman who upon meeting the O’Mally girls, immediately takes to them. The O’Mally girls, especially Nellie, becomes Samantha’s close friend despite the difference in their social status. The O’Mally’s are hired help who work on Samantha’s grandmother’s estate.
The story becomes more interesting after Samantha moves to the New York City to live with her beloved uncle and his new wife, Cornelia. Samantha discovers that Cornelia is kind and passionate about causes, especially the suffragette movement. Samantha also finds it difficult at first adjusting to life in a new city, a new home, and school but gradually blends in. When she receives news that Nellie’s father has died and the O’Mally girls have been sent to an orphanage in NYC, Samantha becomes actively involved in helping the girls, and in the process discovers that she too shares her aunt’s passion for causes.
My nine-year-old loved this story as did I. There are many themes in the film such as the emancipation of women, the fact that child labor was common back in the day, and how there was a stark difference between the way the rich and poor lived (although that is still very much present today). The poor working conditions in factories where children were employed was horrifying to my daughter and she was disturbed to learn that such things still occur today, especially in third world countries.
The Christmas part of the story is really just part of the overall story so if you are expecting a film dedicated solely to a Christmas theme, you will be disappointed. My daughter and I found this film to be well-scripted and well-acted and certainly found it engaging.
Molly: Molly McIntire is a young elementary school aged girl growing up in mid 1940s Jefferson, Illinois. Her idyllic life is disrupted when her doctor dad decides to enlist and help out with the war effort in Europe. It is left to Molly’s mom (played by Molly Ringwald) to help keep the family afloat, working in a factory putting together fighter planes. Molly is at first very resentful of her dad going off to war and her mom getting a job, and her resentment grows even more when she comes home one day to find a British evacuee in her home. Expected to share her room with the evacuee, Emily, Molly feels her world is crumbling, but a series of events helps Molly see that in times of war, compromises need to be made, and compassion is all important.
I agree with some reviewers that the film does not do the books justice and this is perhaps one of the weaker AG films (my nine-year-old and I loved the Samantha and Kit Kittredge films). This is due to the many liberties taken with the storyline, a great departure from the books, and the fact that the main cast for the most part is not very well-cast. The actress playing Molly seems awkward and ill-suited to her role, and the other cast members are also rather stilted in their performances.
However, what made this a worthwhile watch was the attention to period details which makes this film another engaging movie in the AG franchise of films. It may not be their best effort, but the historical details and overall storyline does entertain and keep the viewer’s attention engaged. I hope AG will make more of such films that deal with America’s past.
Kit Kittredge: “Kit Kittredge” An American Girl”, much to my surprise, proved to be a well-scripted and well-cast film, and both my daughter and I found the film an engaging watch.
Abigail Breslin (who is maturing into a wonderfully talented young actress) plays the lead role as Kit Kittredge, an aspiring ten-year-old newspaper reporter. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is vivacious and intelligent. Life is rather hard in the Kittredge household as the time frame is that of the Great Depression. Many families have fallen on hard times, and Kit’s dad has left the family to seek a living elsewhere, hoping to make enough to provide for his family. In the meantime, Kit’s mom (played by Julia Ormond) takes in boarding guests into her home including a magician (played by Stanley Tucci). There are also a couple of young hobos who make Kit’s acquaintance.
When a series of burglaries occur, suspicion falls on the hobos, including Kit’s friend, and it is up to Kit and some of her other friends to prove their friend’s innocence. The story is set at a quick pace but not at the expense of the storyline. The film is also satisfactorily rich in period details including clothing and mannerisms particular to that time frame. This is wholesome family entertainment and my daughter and I found ourselves entertained. It also proved to be an educational experience for my daughter as we were able to discuss the Great Depression and its impact on the United States. Highly recommended.
Our AG fan is on the younger side so she didn't really understand much about the wars or Great Depression but still enjoyed the movies. I would recommend these movies for ages 7-8 and up. Still, they seem to be very historically accurate and make these time periods very relatable for young girls just learning about these times and events in history. As parents, we enjoyed watching these too. I am always pleasantly surprised by the caliber of actors and actresses in AG movies. Shailene Woodley is Felicity and Abigail Breslin is Kit, both actresses who have gone on to much bigger things.
Overall, even if your child isn't quite old enough for these yet, the price is too good to let this set pass you by. Definitely glad I snagged these while I could!