An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong
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|An American Girl:
Chrissa Stands Strong
|Directed by||Martha Coolidge|
|Screenplay by||Christine Coyle Johnson
Julie Prendiville Roux
by Mary Casanova
|Running time||91 minutes|
An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong is the fifth film in the American Girl series, starring actress and singer Sammi Hanratty. It is based on the Chrissa books in the American Girl series written by Mary Casanova.
Chrissa Maxwell and her family move from Iowa to Minnesota in order to be closer to Chrissa's grandmother, "Nana", after their grandfather died. At her new school, Chrissa has a hard time making friends and soon finds herself bullied by three girls who call themselves the "Queen Bees".
Chrissa tries to befriend another new girl, Gwen Thompson, who is also being bullied by the Bees. Gwen avoids Chrissa at first, but the latter later finds out that Gwen avoided her because she was homeless and ashamed of it; the two then become best friends. Unfortunately, the Bees find that out as well by overhearing a conversation between Chrissa and Gwen, and this leads to an incident where Tara, the leader, carelessly cuts Gwen's hair, embarrassing her. The others are sent to the principal's office by Mrs. Ziminsky, who demands the truth. Tara lies and says that Chrissa told her about Gwen being homeless; Jayden, another member, also lies and says that she didn't see anything. However, Sonali, the third member, tells Mrs. Zimisky the truth about what happened. The principal suspends the Queen Bees - Tara for three days, and Sonali and Jayden for one day. After her suspension, Sonali finally apologizes to Gwen about all the mean things she has done to her, and leaves the Queen Bees, therefore becoming friends with Chrissa and Gwen.
After the incident, the bullying gets more intense. Posters and rumors about Chrissa on the Internet are passed around by Tara and Jayden. Chrissa quits her school swim team as a result of being picked on, as well as an incident that involved her brother Tyler. Chrissa gets advice from her art teacher to tell her parents about the bullying. After she tells her parents, they reply that sometimes bullies are mean because they want to feel better about themselves, and try to do so by insulting others and putting them down.
With her newfound confidence, Chrissa decides to do a project to make people aware that many kids are bullied and rejoins the swim team. The big swim competition approaches, and she realizes that she and Tara have to work together if they want to win the relay. Although Tara is reluctant, Chrissa assures her that though they may not be the best of friends, they can still work together to win. Their teamwork earns them their victory, and they reconcile and hug.
The 4th grade class present their project about how bullying affects everyone and friendship can overcome bullying. One of Chrissa's best friends, Amanda, visits her for the summer; Amanda befriends Sonali and Gwen, and the four become best friends.
- Chrissa Maxwell - (Sammi Hanratty) - A 10 year old girl who is bullied by Tara James. She doesn't want to tell anyone because she thinks if she tells that she'll be a tattletale, so she decides to keep the bullying a secret. She also joins the school's swim team, but soon quits after an accident at the pool involving her brother, Tyler, but she soon understands that the reason that she quit shows her less than who she actually is and to her foes. She then works with Tara to win by assuring her, that even if they can't be the best of friends, or any kind of friends for that matter, their work together will earn a victory; which proves actually did. She is best friends with Gwen Thompson and Sonali Matthews.
- Tyler Maxwell - (Austin Thomas) - Tyler is Chrissa's older brother. He joins the school's swim team, but he has to quit after he has an accident. He plays a small part in Tara's plans.
- Gwen Thompson - (Kaitlyn Dever) - A homeless girl who lives in a shelter called Sunrise House. She is very lonely and shy until she meets Chrissa. Chrissa becomes friends with her after she hears Gwen playing her violin at school and offering her homemade chocolate chip cookies at lunch. Gwen lost her father 18 months before the story.
- Tara James - (Adair Tishler) - A bully at Chrissa's school. She and her friends Sonali and Jayden, also known as the "Queen Bees" do mean and sometimes cruel things to anyone that gets in her way. Chrissa, Tyler, and Gwen are her enemies but she works with Chrissa at the last team meet and their work earns the victory of the meet and hugs her. Her friend, Sonali quits the Queen Bees.
- Sonali Matthews - (Ariela Barer) - Sonali is the dark-haired ex-queen bee and friend of Tara and Jayden at the beginning of the film, but soon realizes that they were being extremely mean. She makes amends with Chrissa Maxwell and Gwen Thompson, eventually even becoming best friends with them. She is proven to be loyal, sweet, caring and sensitive. She loves to do arts and crafts much like Chrissa, and when she works on painting a bowl for Gwen's homeless shelter, Sonali and Chrissa become very close.
- Jayden Johnson - (Shelby Harmon) - A friend of Tara who plays a small part in her plans. She stays loyal to Tara unlike Sonali. (The spelling of her name in the book is "Jadyn", but is changed in the movie to "Jayden.") Jayden went mad after Sonali left her club.
- Meg Maxwell - (Annabeth Gish) - Chrissa's mother, who just got a job as a doctor at St. Lukes hospital in Edgewater. She tries to protect Chrissa from bullying and at the end, gives her the idea to stop bullying. She tells her that standing strong is the most important thing when you are bullied whether its for you, or a friend.
- Paul Maxwell - (Timothy Bottoms) - Chrissa's father who gives her the idea that her social 4th grade project to be about bullying.
- Louise 'Nana' Maxwell - (Michael Learned) - Chrissa's nana, mother of Mrs. Maxwell, a widow whose house the Maxwell family moved into. She is also always there for Chrissa and protects her from the bullying.
- Mrs. Ziminsky - (Joanne Baron) - Chrissa's new school principal, who always tries to keep Chrissa and the other bullies out of trouble.
- Mr. Beck - (Don Franklin) - Chrissa's new school teacher and also a swim coach. He also tries to keep Chrissa and the other bullies out of trouble.
- Mrs. Rundell - (Jennifer Tilly) - Chrissa's new school art teacher.
- Ms. Janine Thompson - (Jennifer Parsons) - Gwen's mother, a widow, who lives with her in the homeless shelter.
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- "Holiday Shopping: 87 Award-Winners That Your Kids Will Love". Fredericksburg Parent and Family. Retrieved 31 August 2013.