Getting children interested in history is a tough thing to do, especially colonial American history. And it's a rarity these days when a historical film is made that is directed mainly to children. It's even more rare when such a film is done well enough that adults can enjoy it, too. "Felicity - An American Girl Adventure" is one of those extremely rare movies that shows, fairly accurately, life in the colonial era of our country's history. Oh, I'll be the first to admit that there are 'liberties' taken in this film, as is normal with Hollywood-type movies. But when one compares the liberties taken here to a historical film with more of an adult nature ("The Scarlet Letter" comes to mind) I would say Felicity is much closer to historical accuracy.
The purpose of this film, however, is not necessarily to be a history lesson, but instead an entertaining story set during colonial times. Entertainment that tweens and parents should both enjoy and yet still understand the history behind it.
The best part is - - - there IS history to be learned here.
I enjoyed the inter-action of the main characters, especially with the grandfather, as it shows our ancestors not as stiff wood-cut sketches from history books but real people that actually existed at one time just like we exist today. In the course of watching this film we see fear, concern, anger, frustration...and happiness. This movie includes some of the discourse between family members concerning the outset of what would become the American Revolution, which, for whom this movie is geared towards, was really taking a gamble. But, I feel it paid off. This alone is reason to award this film five stars, as school children in today's day and age do not always get both sides of the story. Even I, who went to school in the 60's and 70's, was taught that the people who lived in the colonies - virtually ALL of the people - were against the King of England. It wasn't until I took it upon myself many years later to study that era that I found out that many, many folks were loyalists and took arms against family members and neighbors. "Felicity," for the first time that I can see in a movie geared toward children, shows that other side of our history.
And, okay, I'll admit that seeing a ten year old girl sneaking out in the middle of the night to ride another person's horse might be taking it beyond reality of the time, but the director and producer and script writers are following the story line from the popular books. We know that little girls disobeying their parents without retribution would not have taken place during that time (although I'm sure most of today's youngsters will not follow Felicity's lead in this). And it does make for a good story that young folks can follow without the "fast-action-gotta-keep-'em-interested" style that's so popular to today's youth. But, the adult viewer must be aware that this movie is tailored toward the younger set and, thus, may not get into the deep details - or may gloss over - certain facts for story's sake. It does, however, allow for a story that can draw the kids, as well as their parents, in.
As a Civil War re-enactor, I tend to look for farbiness (inaccuracies) in all period movies (not just Civil War era flicks) and I must say there was very little that I could see in "Felicity." Oh, a few minor things in this movie are inaccurate - "Hello" was not a greeting at that time as we know it to be today, and Christmas was slightly over-done for the colonial period - but, all in all, the over-all viewing seemed to be a window into the past.
But, that's okay. I feel films like this (as well as the Felicity books) may just entice kids to learn more about Felicity's time period on their own, and that would be a good thing, don't you think?