Found (2021) review – intimate, culturally relevant

October 19, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
3.5

Summary

Found is an intimate, culturally relevant look at international adoption.

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3.5

Summary

Found is an intimate, culturally relevant look at international adoption.

Netflix documentary film Found (2021) will be released on the streaming service on October 20, 2021. 

Found is a documentary from director Amanda Lipitz (Step) and producer Anita Gou (The Farewell) about the other side of international adoption. Lipitz chronicles three adopted teenage girls, all of whom came to America due to China’s former “one-child rule” that lasted 40 years. The 150,000 Chinese children were brought to the United States. The majority are females that are overrepresented as they are not valued as much as their male infant peers.

The teenagers, Chlor, Sadie, and Lily, are experiencing what many adopted children experience: a crisis of identity. They wouldn’t be concerned if it weren’t being made a parent to them by adults or their classmates. One classmate says she was brought to America because her parents didn’t want her. An adult tells one of the children she can’t be Jewish because she is Asian. Often, they are the only one in their community that looks like them. When they do meet someone who shares their generic similarities, they are disappointed they do not speak Mandarin.

The girls, it turns out, have been brought together by genetic testing — they are all cousins. Lio Hau is a research officer who brings the girls together and investigates the origins of where they came from. Rural farmers? Urban dwellers? It doesn’t matter. Most of them had been left in busy streets. All in orphanages with 12-20 babies in a room without doctors or licensed nurses.

In a review of another Netflix documentary Wonder Boy, I noted how child abandonment could stunt a child’s development. These children begin to ask the question of why they were given up. It’s a black cloud that hangs over their head. Watching how supportive the girl’s mothers are is heartwarming. You watch them hold their hands through the endless meetings over the computers and get emotional on their visit to China. They don’t have any trepidation or even jealousy of their child searching for their biological parents.

Are these childless American parents, with strong religious values, heroes? They are indeed caring, and anyone can feel for someone who is childless. However, international adoption has been a hot-button topic. It’s mostly a religiously run service, and one of the largest, Bethany Christian Services, decided not to renew their license. It has been cut by over 72% since 2005. Some are questioning the practice of taking such a step of forced cultural migration — especially when you factor in how the One Child rule ended in 2015.

That’s all besides the point. This isn’t the movie for you if you are looking for endless facts about the One China Rule. For that, watch Amazon Prime’s One Child Nation. Found is much more personal and intimate. It’s not just about personal identity, but a cultural one.

What do you think of Netflix documentary film Found (2021)? Comment below.