Not Yours, Not Mine

by Doane Avery


Not Yours, Not Mine is a comedy-drama about an Indigenous teen girl adopted into a white Mormon family who investigates her culture and family dynamics after being asked to promote adoption to a pregnant classmate.


Not Yours, Not Mine is a comedy-drama set in Seattle in 1989. ALEX is a 15-year old girl with a vibrant sadness about her. She was adopted by her White Mormon parents as a baby and is told that she is Native American but has no other information or connection to her cultural roots. Alex’s parents, particularly her mother PATRICIA, treat her as though she is not adopted. They don’t want her to feel different. They don’t want to acknowledge that she is non-White and that she comes from a different family with a different history. Alex has uncomfortably gone along with this, but when she is asked to talk to a fellow classmate about the positive impact her adoption has had on her, she begins to question why it makes her so uncomfortable.

CHARICE is a 15-year old girl with a cool hip-hop style a-la MC Lyte. She is pregnant and recently split from her boyfriend ANDRE who is the father of the baby. Her mother SUSIE thinks adoption would be the best option because of her age and athletic and scholastic potential if she weren’t a teen mother. The first time the girls speak to each other is after the failed attempt to get Alex to give the adoption pep talk to Charice.

As Alex builds a relationship with Charice, she searches to define her identity. She grows apart from her best friend COURTNEY who is a walking GAP ad going through boyfriends at Zsa Zsa Gabor speed. She has surreal and musical-esque imaginations of who her birth parents might be. The more that she questions the more isolated she feels in her huge Mormon family. Her parents are threatened when she tries to find her birth mother. “You were meant to be in our family.” They fear that they have failed as parents. Why would she want to find her birth mom if they love her absolutely and unconditionally?

Charice is instrumental in Alex’s attempt to look for her birth mother. She helps Alex in the search and comforts her when it leads to a dead end. When Charice reveals that she has decided to place her baby up for adoption, Alex takes offence. Alex is the most isolated she has ever been when she goes to the University of Washington Pow Wow alone. When she gets stranded at the Pow Wow, she calls Patricia to pick her up. In the end, her family tries to recognize the individual and cultural differences she has from them.

At the final choir recital of the school year, a fantastical transition from the choir singing to a duet with Alex and Charice performing an original song about their emotional positions takes us into the final minutes of the film. With the close of the musical number we drop into an eerily still and quiet hospital hallway. Charice is in labor and Alex stands at her bedside; they comfort each other as they face the next chapter.



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