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What does it feel like to be the new kid who speaks a foreign language in a small New England town? Twelve year old Ellie feels  lonely and isolated when her family emigrates from Israel to Connecticut during the 1982 Lebanon war. Suffering from homesickness, language difficulties and rejection at school, she makes friends with Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Based on the filmmaker’s life, Foreign Letters explores the challenges of the immigrant experience and the effects of cultural differences,  prejudice and poverty. Ultimately,  this bittersweet coming of age film is about the healing power of friendship. Suitable for tweens and up, who are strong readers and able to follow subtitles, and for adults.

Free admission  made possible by the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust.

“…a beautifully executed, nuanced, and thoughtful exploration of the immigrant experience told through the friendship of 6th grade girls.” Common Sense Media Common Sense article

“..a completely preach-free reminder that we’re all humans with the same wants, needs, fears, laughter, and tears regardless of our language or homeland” Film Intuition



Film Details

Drama/comedy / Dir Ela Thier / USA / 2012 / Hebrew, English, Vietnamese w/ Eng ST / 100 min


Global Zoom Award Seattle Children’s Film Festival; Audience Award Gold Coast Film Festival; Atlanta, Toronto, St Louis, UK Jewish Film Festivals





Nickelodeon Cinema

1 Temple Street,
Portland, Portland, ME


Wednesday, March 14, 4:00pm



Running Time

100 minutes