Great Rites of Passage film “The Year Dolly Parton was my Mom”

I watched this film last night (we subscribe to The Spiritual Cinema Circle and this was March’s feature film) I totally wasnt expecting it to be an amazing rites of passage film!

The film is described “It’s 1976 and Elizabeth is a painfully average suburban 11-year-old awaiting her adolescence when she discovers her whole life has been a lie. With only her imagination to guide her, Elizabeth runs away in search of where she comes from. Her adoptive mother Marion is then forced to break out of the carefully constructed “truth” she’s been clinging to and find her daughter.”

It starts with 2 best friends, Elizabeth and Annabel,  in toilet cubicles checking their knickers for any sign that they have ‘started’. They make a pact to let each other know as soon as ‘it’ happens!

But Elizabeth become distracted by a family drama at home and when her best friend Annabel calls to tell her the big news…but her mother tells her ‘it’s not a good time’.

The next day in school Elizabeth wants to share her news…but Annabel shuns her for not taking her call when she needed her and has turned to 2 older girls for advise and friendship- all three laugh and shun Elizabeth, saying now they are ‘blood sisters’ and letting Elizabeth clearly know that she isnt welcome in their group.

Because of the drama unfolding at home Elizabeth runs away, and while in the rest room of a roadside cafe she starts her period. The chinese /american cafe owner knocks on the door to see if she’s ok, and she answers “i dont know what to do, something has happened”. The cafe owner knows whats going on and sorts her out with what she needs, takes her under her wing, offering her whiskey tea ‘for the cramps’, talks to her about her girlhood and her feelings of being ‘out of place’ as a chinese girl in the US and then taking her out to sit under a tree to connect with her ‘totem’!

The realness of this film reconnected me with my girlhood- that same feeling of ‘being part of a club’ when you get your period- and looking on those who havent started as ‘little girls’ – it also tapped in to a bit of shame about how I treated some of my friends around that time. We girls can be such bitches!

I loved that Elizabeth was taken care of by an understanding and sympathetic older women (mentor) who shared some of her own experiences and her own ‘traditions’.

A beautiful fim I urge mums to watch with their daughters :)

Menarche, Musings

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