“Adultolescence” is an intimate, complex portrait of the Asian-American experience through the eyes of a young Chinese-American woman, who struggles to find an understanding with her family when she returns home to live with her immigrant mother who had previously disowned her.  The layered and insightful, sociocultural issues raised in “Adultolescence”– including identity politics, depression, economic anxiety, and media-influenced, social voyeurism– make the film a strong candidate for academic study, and creates a cinematic forum for discussion that is provocative and timely.

“Adultolescence” originally premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film Festival, and later garnered international attention, winning a Best Actress award at the 2013 Monaco Film Festival for Jeanne Sakata.  Sakata’s portrayal of a  brutal, yet caring and endearingly, unequivocal character, humanized, counters the stereotypical “Tiger mom”.  Living in Cinema and the University of Southern California’s Asian Pacific Arts included “Adultolescence” in their year-end top ten lists, among titles such as “Jane Eyre”, “Fast Five”, “My Week with Marilyn”, “Melancholia”, “The Flowers of War”, and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”.

While filmmaker Vicky Shen tells an Asian-American story, she skillfully does so in a way that finds common ground with society at large by dismantling the notion of people of color as “the other” in American society.  “Adultolescence” is a work that reinterprets the sometimes didactic topics of ethnic cinema with an original perspective, as the film is injected with “honesty and raw emotion not often seen in Asian-American narratives” (Donald Young, Director of Programs/Center for Asian American Media).  Though “Adultolescence” is not a documentary, it may have a more far-reaching impact as an educational tool by luring viewers into watching the narrative and then drawing the audience into discussion-provoking issues of identity politics within the Asian-American community.

“Adultolescence” has many layers that will engage students of all ages.  “Each argument  is written and acted out in a fashion to where immediate judgment is difficult to render.  The character flaws are evenly distributed enough for one to develop their own personal connection and relation to the situation.  Not only does ‘Adultolescence’ refrain from summing up the Asian-American experience, the story leads to a gripping dynamic, and shifts gears to an emotional hyperdrive” (Cleveland Film Festival).  “‘Adultolescence’ packs so many compelling issues, ideas, and themes into the story, it feels impossible to sum up neatly” (Tonight at the Movies), and this is why it is a must-see for the classroom curriculum.  It is also recommended for the DVD collections of public libraries.


“Adultolescence” has been called a useful and inspiring educational tool as:

1) A depiction of the psychological landscape of an Asian-American family.

2) A cross-cultural story that shows the Confucian family at risk as traditionalism faces modernity.

3) A valuable tool to incite dialogue about depression among young Asian-American women who have the highest suicide rate for women between the ages of 15-24.

4) A work that challenges the “Tiger mom” controversy.

5) A springboard for discussion about today’s media-influenced generation, coming-of-age in a time so heavily influenced by social media and social voyeurism.

6) A cinematic forum for discussion on how economics and culture affect one another.

Too see more about these topics, click here.


The areas of study relevant to the topics of this film include: 

        Asian-American Studies

    ▪    Independent Film Studies

        Gender/Women Studies

        Cultural Anthropology

        Chinese Studies

        Counseling and Therapy


To purchase an education DVD, click here.

To set up a post-screening Q&A with Writer/Director Vicky Shen, please contact… adl_themovie@yahoo.com.