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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Somewhere Between is a documentary about Chinese children adopted by American families and explores some complex and emotional subjects. It focuses on four teenage girls who have come to terms with the fact that they were all abandoned by their biological parents, and are happy to have found loving homes. It explores the complicate relationship such children have with the past, as they are both intensely curious about their origins, yet the tales can also dredge up intense feelings of sadness and rejection. The film is suitable for older tweens and teens; younger kids may find the subject matter a little intense and confusing, and, in cases where people discuss being abandoned by their parents, even disturbing.
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What's the story?
In the process of adopting a baby girl from China, filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton decides to find out more about this family phenomenon. About 80,000 Chinese kids have been adopted by U.S. families, mostly girls, and Knowlton focuses on four teenagers who have very different lives but much in common. As she learns, while they're all happy with their homes, they also yearn to discover where they came from, even though some of the stories are quite sad.
Is it any good?
For a documentary to compel, it needs a strong subject at its center, and SOMEWHERE BETWEEN is gifted with one. From the moment the filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton reveals her motivation for making this movie -- she has adopted a baby from China and would like to give her a sense of her history -- and tracks other girls who try to make sense of their own adoption, the movie is anchored with compassion and purpose. In doing so, Somewhere Between enlightens and, as with the case of Haley, who travels all the way to China to come face to face with her parents, breaks our hearts.
Haley notwithstanding, the film keeps its subjects at a remove. We sense that there will be many more years to untangle the knot of identity for these girls, but the movie doesn't ask those questions. The hopeful message is inspiring, of course, but it brings up more issues than it answers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about adoption. Do you know anyone who was adopted? How are adopted kids' similar to and different than biological kids? Can you think of any adopted kids in the media or in the news? How are they portrated?
Does anything in this documentary surprise you?
How can you support a friend or family member who is adopting or dealing with being adopted?
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