3.13.2015

Documentary Review: "Closure"


"Closure" is a documentary that follows a young (20-something) African-American woman named Angela who was born in Tennessee and spent her first year of life in a foster home. She was born with serious medical concerns due to lifestyle choices her birth mother made. At one year old, she was adopted, and grew up in Washington state with a loving family and lots of siblings, most of whom were also adopted.

Let me tell you now, I get a little wary of adoption-related media. In some, the adoptive parents are annoying and selfish, there's no acknowledgement of birth parents in others, and so many seem to have elements of pushy, or elements of overwhelming negative, or other issues that don't sit well with me. So of course I was a bit anxious about watching "Closure," but an adoptee herself recommended it, and so with a good recommendation to persuade me, I sat down and became hooked immediately.

"Closure" manages to tell Angela's story in an honest, open, beautiful way that doesn't paint pictures of heroes and villains, or of good people and bad people. It's a genuine story in that every person in the documentary is likable. Every person has a story, every person has rough spots and positive attributes...it's not sickeningly positive, but it's not depressing or negative either. It's just so REAL. I love it!

Despite the initial concerns for her health, Angela grew up to be very healthy, not only able to walk (something miraculous on its own) but also a talented athlete. She got married (fun fact, her husband produces this documentary) and her desire to find her birth family grows even more soon after their wedding. She feels such a longing to *know* where she came from. Angela is so likable-- you can just tell that she's a loving, genuine, good person, and she's also strong and brave. Really, she's awesome.

And example of the realistic portrayal of the people in Angela's story: Her mom (for clarification: the woman who adopted and raised her) openly admits that she had insecurities about being replaced by her kids' birth families, but over time she became more secure in her role as mom. She says she knew that role wouldn't ever change, even with Angela searching, and her own desire to meet the people who brought Angela into the world grew over time as well. This felt relatable to me--when we first started building relationships with birth families (particularly Bean's, as we were totally new to the adoption world) it was so intimidating. I felt so insecure. But as time passed, the relationships grew into some of the most beautiful and rewarding ones in my own life, and I LOVE seeing these relationships for my kids especially. For me, I've learned that loving my kids also means loving their birth families. It took time for me to understand this, but it's so true.

So Angela and her husband start searching for her birth family. They run into a lot of barriers with the limited information they have, but suddenly, they find a connection. They travel across the country to meet. It's amazing-- seeing and hearing about these meetings is emotional, raw, real, and just so neat. Not all of the reunion goes as planned, and there are more questions, more concerns, and more twists and turns. By the end of the movie, however, Angela has met most of her birth family, and is still searching for a half sister who was also adopted. Her search inspired her brother to start looking for his own birth family.

It's a really inspiring journey to watch. I cried a ton. It's a real story. There are some people who say things that contradict things others say in the film, but the purpose of "Closure" is not to hash things out or to debate or convince people of anything--"Closure" is a real story, and it's genuine in that it tells the story honestly, openly, and sincerely. It's refreshing and uplifting, and I think anyone would enjoy it. An adoption story from the perspective of someone who was adopted is such a personal and unique thing to behold. It's really just beautiful. "Closure" will connect with pretty much anyone. Angela even meets her foster family.

It's an inspiring journey, and will make you feel good. Watch it. :)

"Closure" is currently available for streaming on Netflix and Hulu.

2 comments:

  1. Just started watching it last night. I haven't finished it yet. But I loved it for all the same reasons you did.

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  2. Apparently, it's also on Hulu for free! It's now on the list of things to watch, thanks :)

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