If it is the objective of a work of art to hold up a mirror to our own lives, then 51 Birch Street, in all its makeshift craftsmanship, is a great work of art.
A portrait of a marriage, Capturing the Friedmans-style.
a documentary for every Baby Boomer, and every Boomer parent, to ponder
| Original Score: 4/5
Leads us through a nice range of emotions and invites us to contemplate our own parents' lives
| Original Score: 3/4
There is nothing more mysterious than the secrets of the people around us, and from the unraveling of this mystery Doug forms a beautiful portrait of an unfulfilled woman.
Reflecting upon the complications of post-war marriage in the pre-divorce age, Block's film does presenting an interesting and intensely intimate tale about his own parents.
| Original Score: B
Unfolds like an epistolary psychological mystery. Little about or in this movie is as simple as it seems.
Doug Block delves effectively into family mysteries without offending or showing disrespect to any of the parties involved.
In families, especially, perceptions are relative . . . reminds us that the seemingly mundane, right at our dinner tables, can offer its own special, bittersweet poetry.
| Original Score: 4/6
It gradually turns into a vivid demonstration that truth can be stronger than fiction, and that compromise is necessary in any lasting relationship.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
51 Birch Street, like the best of the recent wave of personal documentaries, is both a compelling story and an eye-opening bit of social history.
| Original Score: A
The overall effect makes one ponder how much we really know about our parents, as well as how much we really want to know.
Just as Doug starts looking at his own marriage through new eyes after reading about his parents', so will most viewers. "51 Birch Street" could be any address in America.
The film grows in power as it goes, finding ever more universal levels of feeling.
Through haunting home movies, Mina's diaries and interviews with Mike, a raw, riveting portrait emerges of what a child sees in his parents' relationship and what lies beneath.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
We'd all be better off if we could find our grace without a camera's obstruction, but ironically, Block's film provides a useful direction to see our way.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Since the trend of documentary films as a vehicle for the camera operator's family therapy seems firmly established, we can only hope it produces more stories of this caliber.
A resounding success because it touches on things every child has wondered about on the road to adulthood.
| Original Score: 4/4
It's a fine film, and it's practically guaranteed to make you think about your own relationships.