While most families resort to selling eggs, Margaret opens the Kittredge residence as a boarding house, taking in a variety of personalities: dance teacher Miss May Dooley (Jane Krakowski), bookmobile owner Miss Lucinda Bond (Joan Cusack), magician Mr. Berk (Stanley Tucci), and hobos Will (Max Thieriot) and Countee (Willow Smith, daughter of Will).
But the viewer’s attention is always on Kit, whose dreams of being a reporter at the Cincinnati Register won’t wait another day, no matter what editor Mr. Gibson (Wallace Shawn, stingy as ever) says. Her piece on the Chicago World’s Fair rejected, the pint-sized would-be pundit realizes the story of a lifetime is right under her treehouse: “A Kid-Eye View of the Depression in Cincinnati,” she squeaks to Gibson.
Much of her investigation, joined by friends Stirling (Zach Mills) and Ruthie (Madison Davenport), centers on the hobo camp that boarder Will inhabits, with Kit mastering the Hobo Code. But when her mother’s lockbox goes missing, Will is pinned as the prime suspect, leading to the recycled Nancy Drew portion of the movie.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is the first film based on the apparently-popular-enough line of dolls. But there is plenty of life in the story and scenes, most credit going to both Breslin and director Patricia Rozema, who manages her cast, both young and old, with equal ease. With times like these and material like this, which a news anchor could never relate to children, Kit Kittredge, American Girl, might be the perfect figure for kids to look to.