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An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong

4.6 out of 5 stars 433 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

American Girl, An: Chrissa Stands Strong

Meet Chrissa Maxwell. She and her family have just moved, and she has to start at a new school mid-year. Will she fit in? Can she find new friends? On her very first day, Chrissa is seated with three girls who greet her with teasing and tricks. The Mean Bees really know how to stingthey bully her in class, on the bus, online, and even at swim club. Chrissa cant seem to make any new friends; not even with the girl who seems to need a friend the most. When the biggest bully becomes Chrissa's swimming rival, the taunting finally goes too far. Now its up to Chrissa. Will she find a way to stand strong and stop the bullying?



Even in the best of circumstances, being the new kid in school isn't easy--and it's doubly hard when you're the victim of bullying. When Chrissa (Sammi Hanratty) and her family move in with her recently widowed grandmother (Michael Learned), Chrissa is forced to leave her old school (and best friend) and start at a new school in the middle of the school year. An established clique of three girls, dubbed the Mean Bees, welcomes Chrissa by putting her down on her very first day, and their bullying only increases as the days progress. Chrissa suffers in silence as the girls steal her permission slip for swimming club, spread rumors about her having an infectious skin disease, and post inflammatory pictures that dub her the "loser llama girl." Though Chrissa tries hard to make new friends, her efforts are rebuffed even by fellow student Gwen (Kaitlyn Dever), who really seems like she could use a good friend. What Chrissa learns from her experience is that by speaking up, she can protect herself and make a huge difference at her school. Best of all, Chrissa finds some true friends in the process. An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong is a quality film about a timely subject that will entertain as well as edify young girls ages 6 and older. --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Bottoms, Sammi Hanratty, Michael Learned, Kaitlyn Dever
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001FCD252
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,653 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Last night on HBO I watched the premiere of this American Girl movie. I enjoyed the Kit movie from last year, they are really on a roll now I have to say!! This movie is a MUST see for students from 3rd or 4th grade and up. The movie is about a 5th grade girl who is new to a school and is soon bullied by a click of 3 girls, one in particular named Tara. This is not a sugar coated movie and you see Chrissa's situation go from bad to worse as she struggles to handle it by herself.

I figured this movie would be like every other typical Disney-style movie where Chrissa will eventually get revenge on the "bad guy", you know with some plot where say she makes some elaborate contraption which will embarrass the heck out of Tara and spill green paint on her or whatever and everyone will laugh at Tara and Chrissa will be the hero. That is NOT how this story goes at all, and I am very impressed American Girl (who is in the DOLL business) did not fantasy candy-coat the story. Rather, as you will see, it is shown with much more realism and makes you think about what you would do if you were in Chrissa's (or her parents') situation.

I actually have someone who has been bullying my 10 year old daughter over the past few months and ironically I got a few pointers from this movie last night, it made me think a little different about how to approach the situation. It also reinforced some of my beliefs on what makes someone a bully as well as providing some tips on ways to keep Chrissa staying strong.

Like other viewers, I bet you will be curious to see what bully Tara's parents look like - in every other movie (e.g. Camp Rock) the snobby/mean girl's mother is usually some self-centered witch who is nasty with her daughter and thus the chain continues....
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I normally don't write reviews, but was so disappointed to see a negative review on this movie, I had to write. My daughter has seen ALL of the American Girl movies and this is by far her favorite! She has had it for a week, since it came out, and has watched it 3 times already. As much as she loved the other movies, I think this one proved to be more realistic, more timely for young girls, and taught valuable lessons. I definitely recommend this movie, and think it is well worth the money. Even I enjoyed it with her.
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After reading the reviews by homeschooling mothers, I was pretty leary about this movie but I bought it anyway, and was happily surprised. As I figured, the reviewers I read had taken some comments out of context, or had simply misunderstood. The movie does not portray homeschooling negatively at all. Chrissa considers hs-ing so she doesn't have to face the constant bullying in her classroom. She wants to escape it. But others let her know that's no way to deal with the awful situation she finds herself in - escape doesn't solve any problems. And in fact, as her friends point out, by staying away from school she could find herself falling further behind in her work and letting the bullies win. Yes, her father does say, "I'll bet if you're homeschooled, you can't be on the swim team." And Chrissa replies, "Bet you can, too!" They shake hands as a friendly wager but you don't find out who is right because, of course, Chrissa stays in school. (As a trivial bit of info, some states have laws that allow homeschooled students to participate in public school sports. Some don't.) So, enough about the homeschooling aspect of the movie.

The acting is very true to life and the little girl who plays the lead has a great career ahead of her. Strong supporting adult cast, good cinematography, and an interesting plot keep the movie appealing. The way the parents dealt with Chrissa's problem, a little too late in the game, in my opinion, was very realistic. Or at least, they dealt with it the way it should be dealt with.

I think most kids would benefit from watching this movie and seeing how other kids have handled bullying. It was a relief to know that the script tried to portray how a real kid would feel ("I don't want to be a tattletale!
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I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed to learn that instead of considering a film for a historical American Girl characters like Kirsten or Addy, the company opted to spotlight one of the contemporary "Girl of the Year" characters. I didn't really understand or appreciate the fact that they were going for something different when there were plenty of good reasons to write a screenplay about the pioneer era, the Civil War, or New Mexico in the 1800's. However, after watching "An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong," the decision seems much more validated, and in fact, this is easily the best film that American Girl has done (which says a lot, considering how much I enjoyed last summer's Great Depression-centered story of Kit Kittredge).

There is a reason why school has become an entirely different and more frightening world for children than it was even just ten years ago. There's a reason why entire seminars have been devoted to training teachers how to be proactive with bullying in today's classrooms. The story of Chrissa--through both the movie and its accompanying books--is ideal for children, parents, and educators to watch together. Believe me, whether you're a kid yourself or someone who works with students on a regular basis, the movie will give you plenty to think about, all told through the eyes of a fictional child who is just one of thousands of targeted students in the real world.

Films about the psychology of female cattiness/bullying have grown considerably more common in recent years, with the made-for-TV film "Odd Girl Out" and theatrical semi-classic "Mean Girls" exploring the concept in different formats.
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