Film Review: Somewhere Between

The act of adopting Chinese female babies has now crested to a point where the kids are becoming adults. I’m not sure when it all began, but surely it was after the One Child Policy in 1980 when families were allowed only one child making a boy was more desirable. What happens to a couple “needing” a boy and they give birth to a female? What if the female was born with a birth defect? Adoption. Somewhere Between is a documentary by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, who adopted her own daughter from China. She captures the lives of four Chinese adoptees living in America. Each are at a time where they’re interested in figuring out who they are. They’re all in their early teens and their time to do something becomes immediate.

 

Fang “Jenni” Lee is sure she’s from an ethnic minority and doesn’t know her background which will remain a mystery. She lives in Berkeley and her family is getting a divorce which affects her since her past is reliving itself in a way. While traveling back to China, she meets a child with Cerebral Palsy and needs help. She works with the child, and helps her and it becomes a story in itself. Jenna is a great student and actually volunteers time at the orphanage she comes from. Her story will unravel at a later date. Ann Boccuti seems like she’s fine with her life. She’s like any other white girl but she travels to Europe to meet other adoptees along with another “cast” member, Haley, and it pushes them to figure out their pasts. It appears that the kids shot their own camera that’s a bit shaky and lo-fi, but it captures what I’d think they’re seeing perfectly. It was perhaps some of the most important footage of the project.

 

Ann and Haley

The cameras focuses for a segment on the ultra religious, Haley as she goes on a search for her birth parents. The most touching and telling part of the entire tale happens when she travels back to China and posts signs in her local town. It’s minutes later when a man comes up to claim her as her father. At first you might be unsure as to how legitimate he is. Is he seeking camera time? Support? Or is he real? They do a DNA swab and Haley returns to the States. It all seems too easy.

The man turns out to be her father and Haley and her parents elect to go back to China to hear the entire story of her past. She meets her birth mother, father, sisters, and brother. You can see it in his eyes, which the camera captures without any special flare. The father loves her and explains his efforts to get her back when she was put up for adoption by her mother. Sad times and it’s obvious he’s broken by it.

See Somewhere Between by finding dates on their website.

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