51 Birch Street
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Ineterspersing decades of video footage, photos, interviews, and (most notably) his mother's journals, Block examines his parent's 54-year marriage looking for clues as to why his father may have remarried only three months after his mother's death. As Block slowly unearths information from his mother's journals and through interviews with his father and relatives, the film picks up steam, building towards the inevitably cathartic finale.
But 51 Birch Street isn't just an autobiographical film about Block's parents. It's also not just a study in marital fidelity (or lack thereof). What 51 Birch Street really does is examine the disconnect between parents and children, between generations, between siblings, and between friends and documents one man's journey in bridging that disconnect. 51 Birch Street is the rare film that is designed to open dialogue on many complex issues. As Block works towards his own resolutions, audience members can't help but think about questions they may feel the need to ask or to discuss.
Inevitably there are uncomfortable moments where both Block and the audience are wondering whether he should delve any further into the past, both for moral reasons and because, as the DVD cover asks: "Do you REALLY want to know your parents?Read more ›
This film is nothing if not honest. It takes a real, hard look into the lives of this wonderfully strange family and brings them to the world in a very unique and creative way. By the time it ended, I felt as though I knew each person and I missed them when it was over.
Even though I'd seen the movie, I still went and ordered it to have my own copy. I loaned it to my in-laws and they were smitten as well. They said some of it was hard to take. I agree. Without that element of slight brutality, it would have been just another journal-esque movie about a family. It's the tragedies in life that bring all people to the same level. Then, you get to know someone for what they really are.
'51 Birch Street' is a true gem in this world of boobs and beer and so-called "reality tv". This is what film-making SHOULD be!!
But there's also joy and hope in the film, in the form of Doug's 83 year-old father finding ultimate contentment with an old acquaintance (possibly old flame), to the amazement of Doug and his sisters. It's this new relationship, however, that gets the documentary rolling in the first place, as the filmmaker and his siblings ask, "How can Dad be married for over fifty years but then fall in love with a woman from his past only three months after his wife dies?"
Good extras shed further light on this very interesting story and on Doug Block's quirky and often entertaining extended family members. Those family members, by the way, perform the welcome function of occasionally lightening the mood in an otherwise fairly dark film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This documentary was an unexpected delight! Who would have thought the viewer would become so invested in this "ordinary" family's movement through grief and pain toward... Read morePublished 1 month ago by MIFNP
With non-judgemental sensitivity, a son films his parents "for posterity", while exploring the reality behind their 50+ year-marriage. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Deb Wong
It was so touching and insightful about the things that go unknown in our families.Published 2 months ago by Weaver
Watched this documentary quite some time ago, and then again recently. I wish that Mr. Block would do an update and let us know what happened to his dad and Carol/Kitty after they... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Molly Kewl