Roger Ebert is just one of the film critics singing the praises of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to go see a movie based on a dress-up doll for girls. Why? Well, there are the reviews. And then there’s the fact that it was directed by Patricia Rozema, who directed the magnificent, underrated Mansfield Park.

Roger Ebert says:

Considering that it is inspired by one of the dolls in the American Girl product line, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” is some kind of a miracle: an actually good movie. I expected so much less. I was waiting for some kind of banal product placement, I suppose, and here is a movie that is just about perfect for its target audience, and more than that. It has a great look, engaging performances, real substance and even a few whispers of political ideas, all surrounding the freshness and charm of Abigail Breslin, who was 11 when it was filmed.

This movie, intelligently and sincerely directed by Patricia Rozema (“Mansfield Park“), does not condescend. It does not cheapen or go for easy laughs. It is as serious about Kit as she is about herself, and doesn’t treat her like some (indignant exclamation) dumb girl. If you have or know or can borrow a girl (or a boy) who collects the American Girl dolls, grab onto that child as your excuse to see this movie. You may enjoy it as much as they do — maybe more, with its period costumes, settings and music.

More reviews from surprised critics are piling up here.

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