Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 25, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

51 Birch Street

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
88 minutes
Limited Release Date
10/18/06
director
Doug Block
distributor
Truly Indie
author
Doug Block, Amy Seplin
genre
Documentary

We gave it an A-

Growing up on Long Island, documentary filmmaker Doug Block (Home Page) thought he knew his parents Mike and Mina: a distant father, a close mother, a reliable, unremarkable, 54-year-old marriage that endured until Mina’s death at the age of 78 in 2002. No Capturing the Friedmans-style drama here. Then Mike reconnected with his old secretary, marrying her soon afterward, and while he packed up for a new life in Florida, the son picked up a camera, with some ambivalence, and focused his attention on learning more about the people who were the real Mike and Mina rather than Dad and Mom. 51 Birch Street, the surprisingly moving result, is a warm and honest portrait of a marriage at its most mysterious, and ordinary.

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