4 Third Culture Kid Films Worth Your Time

Category: Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are no longer a marginal culture. We’ve known this for a long time now. Once known almost as an oddity, today, TCKs are one of the most rapidly growing populations. TCKs from almost every combination of nations imaginable are taking up office in nearly every industry around the globe. It’s no wonder that the film world is forced to recognize the existence of TCKs. Some films are even focusing their whole storyline around Third Culture Kids. Here is a selection of four recent Third Culture Kid films worth your while if you want to understand, reflect on personally or get a group discussion going about the Third Culture.

1. Somewhere Between (2011)

Type: Documentary film (88 mins) NR
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton



Storyline: Somewhere Between tells the intimate stories of four teenaged girls. They live in different parts of the US, in different kinds of families and are united by one thing: all four were adopted from China because all four had birth parents who could not keep them, due to personal circumstances colliding with China's "One Child Policy". These strong young women allow us to grasp what it is like to come-of-age in today's America as trans-racial adoptees. At the same time, we see them as typical American teenagers doing what teenagers everywhere do...struggling to make sense of their lives. Through these young women, and their explorations of who they are, we ourselves pause to consider who we are - both as individuals and as a nation of immigrants. Identity, racism, and gender...these far-reaching issues are explored in the documentary. And with great honesty and courage, these four girls open their hearts to experience love, compassion, and self-acceptance.

Third Culture Kid themes: Pursuit of identity, adoption, belonging

2. The Road Home (2010)

Type: Documentary Short (21 mins) NR
Director: Rahul Gandotra



Storyline: Sent by his parents to an international boarding school in the Himalayas, Pico grapples with his identity as he escapes from his boarding school in search of the road back home to England.

Third Culture Kid themes: Belonging, pursuit of identity, “home”, school, Indian-British TCKs

3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Type: Drama/Comedy (124 mins) PG-13
Director: John Madden



Storyline: British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Third Culture Kid themes: Not directly a TCK film but deals with culture shock, India/Britain, thriving cross-culturally

4. Neither Here Nor There

Type: Documentary (35 mins) NR
Director: Ema Ryan Yamazaki



Storyline: "Neither Here Nor There" is a 35 minute documentary that explores cultural identity for people who have grown up in places other than their home culture, known as Third Culture Kids. Through the stories of six subjects, the film investigates the often overlooked effects on adults who had international upbringings, their struggles to fit in and an eternal search to belong.

The film is also a self-exploratory journey for the filmmaker, a Japanese-British raised bi-culturally and in an international school system, who now lives in New York. In her last year of college, she attempts to figure out what she is in the context of the world.

Third Culture Kid themes: Asian Third Culture Kids, international school TCKs, identity

What are some of your favorite films on the subject of Third Culture Kids that you would recommend watching?


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