51 Birch Street (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

51 Birch Street (2006)

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Critic Consensus: A filmmaker's investigation of his parents' marriage renders an ordinary subject surprisingly powerful.

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Movie Info

Documentary filmmaker Doug Block had every reason to believe his parents' 54-year marriage was a good one. But when his mother dies unexpectedly and his father swiftly marries his former secretary, he discovers two parents who are far more complex and troubled than he ever imagined.

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Critic Reviews for 51 Birch Street

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (19)

Unfolds like an epistolary psychological mystery. Little about or in this movie is as simple as it seems.

May 10, 2007 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

It gradually turns into a vivid demonstration that truth can be stronger than fiction, and that compromise is necessary in any lasting relationship.

January 12, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The film grows in power as it goes, finding ever more universal levels of feeling.

November 24, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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.

November 13, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

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.

November 4, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A resounding success because it touches on things every child has wondered about on the road to adulthood.

November 3, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 51 Birch Street

Interesting because it's so personal. The director obviously wanted to make a documentary about his family but found out more than he was ready for.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]With "51 Birch Street," filmmaker Doug Block has made a documentary about his parents, Mike and Mina, who were married for more than fifty years. After Mina's death, Doug tries to form a connection to his emotionally distant father. Three months later, to the shock of Doug and his sisters, Mike marries his former secretary and announces plans to sell the family home in Port Washington, Long Island, intending to move to Florida.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"51 Birch Street" is an extremely personal film that I think wants to have something profound to say about marriage but does not escape the pull of the central story.(Doug also talks about his own marriage but that is about it.) I would not want to know the details of my parents' marriage, much less somebody else's, even if it did make them sound more interesting. In the end, I understand even less why somebody would ever want to get married. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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