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51 Birch Street (2005)

Unrated  |   |  Documentary  |  18 October 2006 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 647 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 16 user | 45 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

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 ... See full summary »

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Title: 51 Birch Street (2005)

51 Birch Street (2005) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Carol Block ...
Herself
...
Himself (narrator)
Ellen Block ...
Herself
Karen Block ...
Herself
Mike Block ...
Himself
Mina Block ...
Herself
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Storyline

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. 51 Birch Street is a riveting personal documentary that explores a universal human question: how much about your parents do you really want to know? Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated
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Release Date:

18 October 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brzozowa 51  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,827 (USA) (20 October 2006)

Gross:

$84,689 (USA) (8 December 2006)
 »

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User Reviews

 
the biography turns into a fascinating autobiography
25 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the midst of a documentary about his parents, the filmmaker's mother dies, but he continues making the documentary, discovering a story he did not anticipate. The result is an absorbing drama that has the quality of fiction in the best sense of that word, where a likable but unknowing narrator unwittingly privileges the audience. The narrative thus has a double weave, the story of the documentary and the story of the documentary-maker.

Our admiration is with the filmmaker, not only for doggedly pursuing his story though it risks his entire notion of his parents' relationship, but also for never giving in to sensationalism or melodrama. Although the stuff of Hollywood lurks in the details, Doug Block treats the story as he would everyday life. For those of us who have always speculated about our parents' life before we came on the scene (or after we arrived, but while we were too self- absorbed to notice they had a life independent of ourselves), 51 Birch Street gives fair warning: There are wondrous things back there in fatherland, but beware if you choose to enter there.

But that caution is for the audience to go slow wandering about in the details of their parents' past. It is not a warning for those offered a glimpse into the life of Block's parents. The film is a marvel at making the mother come alive as a vibrant and passionate yet introspective person who makes her own conscious decisions during the 50's. The filmmaker's particular success is to make the viewers actually see the young woman behind the elderly parent and grandparent. We all know our parents were once young and vigorous, but in 51 Birch Street, the mother is. The father who has been distant while the filmmaker and his sister were growing up ultimately remains distant in the film, but that is due more to his own elusive nature than to his portrayal. This biography turned autobiography is dramatic, intense, and unforgettable, sure to send viewers scurrying for a closer look at their own family albums but more hesitant about looking at the backs of those photographs.


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A message from director Doug Block doug-419
Remarkable Documentary Adry19
Where is the cast information? grobn
For those seeking it on DVD... prettyh
Amazing: father's participation in film tgemberl
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