“By pairing these interviews with clips of educational and pop culture footage from the era that pertain to love and sex—especially the ill-wrought notion of an “illegitimate” pregnancy—the audience can see how reproductive ignorance and an antiwoman culture combined to force a heartbreaking outcome. The somewhat campy vintage footage makes the film accessible and provides historical context, but also lessens the psychological burden on viewers so they can get through a sociologically significant, albeit difficult, work—a necessary levity to the heavy truth that pristine, postwar America had deeply troubling social problems.”—Victoria Bekiempis, Bitch Magazine—Feminist Response to Popular Culture
“A Girl Like Her is …. a marvel of formal invention … a brutal examination of cultural hypocrisy.”—Dan Schindel, “The Doc Option: Before Philomena Watch A Girl Like Her”, Nonfics: Real Stories, Real Insight
“A Girl Like Her, Ann Fessler’s quietly devastating documentary … offers a sociologically rich and important deconstruction of a devastating double social standard that was in effect in those days. In revealing the painful legacy that permanently impacted so many mothers, Fessler has finally and respectfully given them a voice.” —Geneva Anderson, Art Hound
“Precise, daunting, and also allusive, this story recalls those bad old days … when ignorance, silence, and repression were the preferred social strategies … decidedly anti-nostalgic … heart-wrenching.” –Cynthia Fuchs, Film and TV Editor, PopMatters
“A Girl Like Her, Ann Fessler’s haunting group portrait of women who surrendered their children for adoption in the 1950s and ’60s juxtaposes their voices with stock archival images from an era when wrenching human drama was buried beneath airbrushed images of family and sexuality.”—Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
A GIRL LIKE HER reveals the hidden history of over a million young women who became pregnant in the 1950s and 60s and were banished to maternity homes to give birth, surrender their children, and return home alone. They were told to keep their secret, move on and forget. But, does a woman forget her child?
The film combines footage from educational films and newsreels of the time period about dating, sex, “illegitimate” pregnancy, and adoption—that both reflected and shaped the public’s understanding of single pregnancy during that time—with the voices of these mothers as they speak today, with hindsight, about the long-term impact of surrender and silence on their lives.