A Filmmaker Reviews AG Movies- Molly: An American Girl On the Home Front
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Rebelle isn't taking up all my time anymore since it's out! This means I can finally do the series I've been thinking of doing and doing gradually since September 2019!
This year, I've learned a lot more about how to make a movie, so I thought it would be fun to revisit the AG movies and see what they did right and wrong in the technical department. Today, we're looking at Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front!
WARNING: THIS CONTAINS A LOT OF FILMMAKER RANTING!
What they got RIGHT:
This freaking movie... where do I start? Oh, that's right. Emily. They totally expanded on her character from the books and made her the best character in any AG movie. I think she is where my fascination with the 'new student with tragic backstory which is kept hidden for a long time' trope started. But they did her character so good... gosh, I love Emily.
The writing in this movie is amazing. The screenwriter, Anna Sandor, did a phenomenal job both keeping the spirit of the Molly books and making a gripping movie that showcased the harsh realities of World War II from a kid's eye.
This movie did not sugarcoat World War II. Of course they couldn't make it real dark, because it's made for nine year old girls, but between life changes and off-screen deaths, AG did the best they could.
Can we talk about the shot where Molly and her siblings were listening to the radio and then it panned over to Molly's dad telling his wife about enlisting in the army? Because that gave me chills.
Molly's character development. They totally improved it from the books- perhaps a movie showing her arc going from selfish to caring about the people in the war communicated it better.
What they got WRONG:
On that note, it was kind of confusing when Molly left the restaurant in a rage when Aunt Eleanor told her she was going into the air force and then was like "it's fine". That was the one time they messed up.
The acting wasn't the worst, but it could have been improved. Tory Green, who played Emily, was trying, but if they got someone even better, she would have made Emily simply irresistible. Same goes for Maya Ritter, who played Molly. It was her first movie role, but she could have tried harder. The worst casting choice in my opinion was Molly Ringwald as Mrs. McIntire- it seems that they were going for name recognition and not acting ability with that choice.
Continuing from my last note, the directing wasn't the greatest. If one actor is bad, that's on them. But if all actors could be improved somewhat, that's on the director. Joyce Chopra, what were you thinking when you showed Molly's dad at the end before showing Molly's fogged up POV? If it was the other way around, it would have created suspense more. Anyways, I should've directed it. I might have been crawling when they filmed it, but I could have done better.
Allison Hargate. I forgot how annoying she was. Not the movie's fault... her fault.
Conclusion: This movie is still the magnum opus of the American Girl movie franchise. Until they make a Nanea movie.
Old Rating (circa 2016): 10
New Rating: 8