Release Date: October 18th, 2006(Cinema Village) by Truly Indie.
Directed by Doug Block.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Doug Block who explores his parents’ marriage when he discovers his mom’s diary after he death.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 51 Birch Street documents Doug Block’s suspenseful journey to discover the hidden truths behind his parents’ 54-year marriage. After Mina, his mother, died of pneumonia, his father, Mike married his secretary—and mistress— Kitty. Upon doing some research, he strikes gold when he finds Mina’s diaries and starts reading them. The further he investigates his parents’ past and the more good questions he asks his father, older sister, Ellen, and Uncle Josh, the more interesting the revelations get—none of which will be spoiled here. Director Doug Block does a superb job of balancing the dramatic footage with plenty of humor, wit and stylish editing which never get bland or tedious. The many lively compelling interviews with his family members as well as a young rabbi feel both warm and candid.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Doug Block asks many basic, yet though provoking questions that raise large issues such as the meaning of marriage, love, fidelity and happiness—particularly regarding his parents, but he also briefly turns the camera onto his wife, Karen. It’s very moving to watch him try to emotionally connect with his father who has been rather cold and distant to him throughout his life. Ultimately, this documentary serves as self-therapy for Doug and causes him to fill a void simply by asking the right questions to the most important people in his life: his own flesh-and-blood. You'll be inevitably inspired to ask the same questions to your own kin
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: An indie gem. Compelling, illuminating and profound.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
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