Off and Running (2009)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Interpersonal Relationships, Race & Ethnicity, Sociology  |   Release Date - Jan 29, 2010 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 79 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Nathan Southern

An intimate and earnest examination of race, gender identity, and the definition of "family," this sociological documentary chronicle filters said themes through the eyes of Avery Klein-Cloud, an intelligent and generally well-adjusted teenager from Brooklyn with decidedly unusual circumstances. Though African-American herself, Avery grew up with two Jewish lesbian foster mothers, who also adopted two boys, one Korean and the other of mixed ethnicity. Encouraged by both mothers to get in touch with her biological mom for the first time, Avery writes a letter to the woman, but this decision sparks a profound identity crisis in Avery and contributes to increasingly disturbing behavior. As she questions who she is, she also begins spending lengthy periods of time away from home, drops out of school, and suffers from feelings of isolation and abandonment -- and her plan to attend university on a track-and-field scholarship seems increasingly unlikely. What therefore commences as a meaningful journey of self-enlightenment regresses into a far more dangerous personal crisis for the young woman.

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Keywords

adoption, African-American, alienation, biological-family [vs. adoptive], coming-of-age, lesbianism, race/ethnicity, roots [origins], search, self-identity, teenagers