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I Am Eleven

I Am Eleven

Are 11-year olds the same the world over? Yes and no. Mostly yes, mostly no.

The world is the same and different.

The world is the same and different.

I wanted to see the birth certificate on some of these kids: some seemed 7 years old while other seemed 17. I suppose that’s the point of the film: they’re so different.

Topics ranged from love to global warming to bullying and dreams. Some answers were one word, some were one entire thought. As I sat next to my 8-year old and 10-year old in the theater, I almost couldn’t fathom that these kids have been on the planet for the same number of years that my sons were. The French boy was almost a philosopher whereas the Thai boy had a communication with his elephants like an ageless monk. New Jersey girl had a life that was the closest to the western world–embarrassingly so.

What do eleven-year olds around the world have in common? How are they different? From New Jersey to Morocco, Japan to Holland, 11-year olds get their say.

I wonder what the kids thought of it. They liked Billy, from England, because he was silly and funny and answered, when asked if he liked being 11, “Hell yeah.” It was a little tough for my boys to read the subtitles, sometimes they went by rather quickly with the quick-tongued Indian girls.

I have no idea if it hit home that most of the kids lived in relative poverty. I’m curious how the writer chose her subjects. She seemed to like the ex-pats (e.g. the British (?) boy in Thailand or British girl in the Czech Republic).

Either I wasn’t paying close enough attention or there wasn’t much of a story arch. There were some sections where kids answered similar questions (love, friends, bullying, racism, etc.) but I didn’t pick up on an overarching storyline.

You know that phenomenon that you can’t tell if your family member has longer hair or has gained weight because you see them too often? I’d be curious to see a documentary about my own children to see how snippets of their world would come across.


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