Somewhere Between: What a perfect title for a movie that explores the intersection of identity formation, adoption, race, and family. The documentary touches on other core issues—grief, rejection and loss—as well.
Ella Taylor, of NPR, says, “Somewhere Between is refreshingly free of the cloying, one-size-fits-all dogma that sometimes bedevils the adoption community.” Intimate and poignant, the film follows four wise-beyond-their-years teens (13-15 years of age, the same ages as my daughters)—Haley, Jenna, Fang “Jenni”, and Ann—all born in China, and adopted by white parents.
These active girls, who live throughout the U.S., unflinchingly share how they deal with and feel about sensitive personal and cultural issues arising out of their adoptions and race. They are exceptionally articulate and candid, and their openness resonates with audiences. As Los Angeles Times movie critic, Kenneth Turan states, “You’d have to be a stone not to be moved.”
Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton shares, “By necessity, we must all try to comprehend the experience of being “other” in America, to see how each individual finds his or her own way in society…Through the voices of these four young women in the film, we begin to understand what they face, and understand more deeply our own complex relationships and culture.”
The audience is invited in to witness the complexity of what adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents often navigate. We watch buried emotions surface when the term abandonment is brought up and observe the complexities of a reunion in China that traverses secrecy, forgiveness, love, and loss.
Identity is an issue for many of those who have been adopted. Somewhere Between examines the issue and doesn’t provide any pat answers, but invites more questions and introspection about how you will support your children when they explore:
- “Where do I fit?
- “How do I fit?
- “How do I straddle the chasm of ambiguity?”
Discussion: Still not convinced that your child might deal with core issues? Watch Somewhere Between, and share your insights here. Have tissues handy…