“Somewhere Between,” which profiles four Chinese girls adopted by American parents in the wake of the Beijing government’s one-child policy, is a play-it-safe, by-the-numbers kind of documentary — yet somehow it gets under your skin.
We get little sense of the personal struggles that the girls may have encountered in their lives, and their families are barely shown. Conflict is strenuously avoided at every turn, whether the girls are in their own living room, at school or visiting China, though the premise of the film is fraught with conflict: young adoptees who are Chinese and American, lost between two identities.
Despite the superficiality of the storytelling, however, there is no denying that “Somewhere Between” is affecting, and the well-spoken, likable girls, particularly Haley and Fang (the latter raised in Berkeley), make it worth our time to invest in the film.
Fang’s story of her abandonment on a city street — and her efforts to help arrange the adoption of a little Chinese girl with cerebral palsy — are unforgettable. And Haley’s unlikely reunion with her birth parents in China is a polite, yet cringe-inducing scene of family dysfunction.
Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton, herself a mother of a Chinese adoptee, rightfully takes the girls’ point of view to tell these stories. Now that these young women are coming of age since the 1979 one-child policy took effect, we’re not left to see just the parents talking.
$11 for nonmembers; 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday
Director Andrew Beck Grace will be in attendance and will answer questions after the screening of his documentary about Grace and his wife’s attempts to eat only locally grown food, the way their farming ancestors in Alabama once did. The pair learns it’s not easy in today’s world.
$11; 7 p.m. Friday
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston:
Houston’s Brown Auditorium Theater, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet; 713-639-7515, www.mfah.org
“Went the Day Well?”
This 1942 Alberto Cavalcanti war thriller is based on a Graham Greene story about a village in England that is occupied by disguised German paratroopers preparing for an invasion.
7:30 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday
River Oaks Theatre:
2009 W. Gray;
Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, mortgaged their home to finance his 1960 hit.
Midnight Friday and Saturday
Will Ferrell plays a human orphan who stows away in Santa’s bag of toys and is raised as an elf till he learns the truth and heads to New York to find his real father. 7:30 p.m. Friday at Whole Foods in Montrose, 701 Waugh; free.
“A Christmas Story”
If you’re a fan of Red Ryder BB guns and the soft glow of electric sex, don’t miss a screening of “A Christmas Story” at Karbach Brewing Co., 2032 Karbach. Movie starts at 6:30 p.m.; free. Part of Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Road Show.