Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Great Documentary Film: Somewhere Between

Last weekend, we watched a documentary film on Netflix called "Somewhere Between", directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, that follows the lives of four adopted Chinese-American teen girls.  I have a few adopted Chinese friends, and I guess I never really thought much of their back stories, but the film was incredibly eye-opening.  Each of the girls has her own struggles with her identity: Fang, who vividly remembers being abandoned on a sidewalk, continues to return to China and reach out to other orphaned girls; Hayley longs to know the reasons for her abandonment and seeks out her birth family; Jenna, a top student at a prestigious academy, constantly busies herself in after school activities to keep her mind off of the questions surrounding her abandonment; Ann, a pre-teen living in suburban Pennsylvania, doesn't show any particular interest in her biological family but is jealous when Hayley finds hers.

One of the things that is so striking about the girls in the film is their resilience: through their struggles growing up "somewhere between", the girls demonstrate an intelligence and understanding far beyond their years.

I have a few adopted Chinese friends.  Sometimes I wonder how they feel about their birth families and adoption. I don't quite have the gall to ask them about it myself, perhaps because I know how delicate the subject can be, especially considering Chinese culture's pattern of abandoning baby girls in favor of raising boys.  "Somewhere Between" provides a lot of insight into the various thoughts and feelings of different adopted Chinese girls.  The film beautifully captures a wide range of emotions—happiness, despair, loneliness, curiosity—and had me laughing and crying along with the girls.  I would highly recommend it; it's a film that everyone should watch, regardless of whether or not they know any adopted Chinese kids, because anyone can relate to its theme of being an outsider and trying to find a place in society.

I give it a two thumbs up.

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