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Brats: Our Journey Home
What is it like to move twelve times before you graduate; feel like an outsider in your own country; grow up in a paradox that is idealistic and autoritarian; privileged and perilous? This film is about growing up as a military "brat". Brilliant, thoughtful, unforgettable.
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Brats: Our Journey Home

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Running Time
90 minutes

Brats: Our Journey Home

It’s hard to imagine a military BRAT’S childhood. Moving from base to base around the world, they are at home everywhere – and nowhere. There are 1.2 million children being raised in the military today. An estimated 15 million Americans are former BRATS. They include actors Jessica Alba and Robert Duvall, Senator John McCain, and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

BRATS is the first cinematic glimpse into a global subculture whose journey to adulthood is a high-octane mixture of incredible excitement and enormous pain. Make no mistake – BRATS is not about the U.S. military – it’s about their children, who grow up in a paradox that is idealistic and authoritarian, privileged and perilous, supportive and stifling – all at the same time. Their passports say “United States,” but they’re really citizens of the world.

Singer/songwriter and Air Force brat Kris Kristofferson leads us through the heart of their experiences, sharing intimate memories with fellow BRATS, including General Norman Schwarzkopf and author Mary Edwards Wertsch, whose ground-breaking book, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, was one of the seminal inspirations for this film. Their stories reveal the peculiar landscape of their childhood, the culture that binds them together, and the power it exerts over their adult lives.

A seven-year work of passion by independent filmmaker Donna Musil, BRATS features rare archival footage, home movies and private photographs from post-war Japan, Germany, and Vietnam.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2006
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