I wanted to see Wall-E on Saturday or heck even Kung Fu Panda but my daughter had seen both of those, and because of health issues I couldn’t do much in the way of physical activities, we decided to see the American Girl movie. In reality, the movie was much better than I thought and in a lot of ways a movie I was glad that my daughter got exposed to. Though I feel sad that we didn’t bring our American Girl doll to the theater to make the whole experience a little more special for her.
The movie took place in the great depression, but more specifically it seemd to take place during the beginning of the great depression where everyone was just beginning to lose their jobs and have their houses forclose on them. I thought this was an odd mirror of modern times where everyone is getting laid off and houses are being forclosed left and right largely due to the housing bust. I am not sure if this particular mirror was intended or even thought of but I did think it was strange.
Because of this I thought it was kind of a cool movie to expose my kid too. Because the movie was very much about how you don’t need to have television, McDonald’s, and all the other luxuries to have a good life. In fact, it showed that even kids could do a lot to help their families get through tough times, which I’m not sure if my daughter totally understands when she complains that I can’t afford every video game she wants.
The acting in it was ok, not great. I thought the main girl, who also previously was in Nim’s Island and Little Miss Sunshine, did a much better job than expected. Her previous roles were ok but the parts weren’t really much of anything in the first place. This one had more meat on it, and she used it pretty well. Everyone else seemed like they were mostly there for two or three jokes and then left behind entirely.
The movie was kind of a slow movie, which again in a way was a nice change from the modern instant gratification movie. And you know what? My daughter still liked it and didn’t even notice that it was really a slow-paced movie. To me, this was perhaps the largest accomplishment of the movie as any time you can slow down the movie and still appease the kids you’ve created a miracle.
Overall, the movie was surprisingly charming and had good morals. I give it a solid C+.
My one overall complaint was the noted irony that the movie was about a doll that would be too expensive for any of the characters in the movie to buy.