Tween girls glowing with excitement hand-in-hand with their parents hit theaters across the nation Friday for a ticket into the silver screen world of "Kit Kittredge" – the first feature film based on the wildly popular American Girl book series.
Moviegoers will enter the pristine world of innocent and happy go-lucky Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) – the only daughter of a successful car dealership owner (Chris O'Donnell) and his nurturing wife (Julia Ormond).
But Kit's perfect world completely shatters when the Great Depression hits her hometown and her father loses his dealership,forcing him to leave Cincinnati to look for work. To make ends meet at home, Kit and her mother must take in an eclectic bunch of boarders, grow their own vegetables, sell eggs, and make clothes out of chicken feed bags.
Although the film focuses on Kit's adventures with the boarders, her efforts to be an "in print" journalist, and her involvement in solving a crime, the movie also prominently promotes family values and moral messages.
Among the many memorable scenes in the film were the ones between Kit and her father, where the two expressed a trust and closeness hard to find in modern parent-child relationships.
In addition to shining a favorable light on the tight-knit family, the film also teaches young girls to fight against prejudice, speak their minds, and believe in their friends.
The actors in the film during a promotion stop in Chicago this week said that even off-screen they embrace the movie's pro-family values.
Two-time Oscar nominee Joan Cusack, who plays Miss. Bond, shared with The Christian Post and other reporters on Tuesday that when she's not working on a film her life revolves around her family, and is "probably a lot like yours."
The Chicago-native said in real life when she's not working she helps her two young sons with their homework, prepares dinner, takes her sons to hockey practice, keeps track of what clothes fit and don't fit her kids, and is "trying to get a date night out."
Cusack also revealed why she chose to participate in the movie.
"This business (movie industry) is a difficult business," Cusack said frankly. "It is hard on your soul the whole Hollywood world, values, distractions, and craziness, and the highs and the lows.
"[This movie] works with my life and my family," she said, "and this movie is about something meaningful and was shot in Toronto (a short flight from her Chicago-area home) and that is kind of why I chose to be part of it."
Meanwhile, co-star Chris O'Donnell, who plays Mr. Kittredge, enthusiastically shared about his joy of being a parent and how it helped him play dad on-screen.
"Every time I go on location it is brutal to have to leave my family for long periods of time," O'Donnell, a father of five, said.
"Last year I spent two or three months in Budapest, and other than Apple ishot, it was tough not being around them," he explained. "So that is really the heart of it, my [character] having to leave for Chicago to find work and I can absolutely relate to that."
Although O'Donnell admits it is his first time playing a parent on the silver screen, he said being a real parent made Mr. Kittredge's love for Kit "so real" and "so easy to tap into."
"As anyone who has kids will tell you, it is just a different level of love you have for your children," O'Donnell said. "I mean you love your parents and you love your brothers and sisters and your wife – your children are a different thing. I mean you literally would throw yourself in front of a moving train for your kids without hesitation."
The wholesome, family-friendly "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" opened in limited venues June 20 and expands nationwide July 2.
A delightful film that exudes a warmth and innocence hard to find in today's society. A must-watch for parents with young girls. Overall, an entertaining movie packed with moral lessons well-conveyed by the strong cast.