About the Film

See the Film

51 Birch Street

NOW ON DVD

Read the Reviews

"A mystery in the form of a home movie, it's not a whodunit so much as a whodunwhat, or whowasthat... Unexpectedly moving"


– Robert Lloyd, LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Reviews

A.O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES

"One of the most moving and fascinating documentaries I've seen this year... Mr. Block has put his parents’ life, and his own, into this film with such warmth and candor that it may take more than one viewing to recognize it as a work of art."

Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE

"A spellbinding detective story"

Jim Emerson, CHICAGO SUN TIMES

"An irresistible mystery... indelibly haunting"

Ruthe Stein, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Block's hypnotic documentary, among the finest of the year, is a resounding success because it touches on things every child has wondered about on the road to adulthood. What really went on in your parents' bedroom? Did Mom or Dad ever mess around?"

John Anderson, NEWSDAY

"Doug Block's very moving, honest and even suspenseful autopsy of his parents' marriage is the kind of film audiences leave the theater talking about, and which keeps them talking days later."

Sam Adams, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"What makes "51 Birch Street" a moving revelation rather than a therapeutic exercise is Block's commitment to understanding his parents, Mike and Mina, on their own terms, regardless of what it does to his image of them."

Lisa Scharzbaum, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

"A warm and honest portrait of a marriage at its most mysterious, and ordinary."

Ella Taylor, LA WEEKLY

"Wonderful... a loving, painful map of the gulf between thought and word, between word and deed, that props up good marriages, and sends bad ones to hell."

Rene Rodriguez, MIAMI HERALD

"Extraordinary… spellbinding… an utterly absorbing mystery"

Diane Werts, NEWSDAY

"Soul-jarring yet heartwarming... though it charts one individual journey, the light it sheds spills over onto the entire post-World War II generation."

Terry Lawson, DETROIT FREE PRESS

"The revelations uncovered here are not in the shocking category of family exposes like "Capturing the Friedmans" and "Tarnation." For that reason alone they may be more heartbreaking."

Ann Hornaday, WASHINGTON POST

"A lively, controversial but finally deeply compassionate portrait of an ordinary extraordinary woman"

TORONTO STAR

"51 Birch Street is the latest autobiographical doc sensation"

Eddie Cockrell, VARIETY

“A triumph of true-life storytelling… with every bit the emotional punch of the more sensationalist doc fare”

Robert Lloyd, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"A mystery in the form of a home movie, it's not a whodunit so much as a whodunwhat, or whowasthat... Unexpectedly moving"

David Hudson, GREENCINE DAILY

"With 51 Birch Street, Doug Block has fashioned an engaging and at times even suspenseful mystery out of his family's story and, along the way, a social history of the American family unfolds, from the uptight 50s through the 70s (a swath of story worthy of Updike, Cheever or Roth) to the present."

Andrew O’Hehir, SALON.COM

"Block has made a sad, delightful and half-accidental movie about his own parents which was the outstanding personal documentary at this year's (SXSW) festival... Profound and humane."

Tom Hall, INDIEWIRE

"Exceptional ... This film should become a huge hit because its central question is universal; if you could learn everything about your parents' lives, would you really want to know? ... This is wonderful non-fiction storytelling."

Bruce Kirkland, TORONTO SUN

"The film is a revelation because it is so folksy and so disarming that we can see ourselves and our own family histories in a fresh new light."

Anthony Kaufman, INDIEWIRE

"51 Birch Street is a beautiful, resonant piece of work about how little we know about our parents' lives, about marriage and fidelity, loss and reconciliation. I've often felt that the personal documentary has overstayed its welcome, but Birch Street reaffirms my faith in the form."

Geoff Pevere, TORONTO STAR

"Tears your heart out ... as haunted by ghosts as anything found in a Hollywood horror movie."

Tricia Olszewski, WASHINGTON CITY PAPER

"The triumph of 51 Birch Street is that, as you’re driving home past fast-food joints and strip malls, you’ll be thinking about your own life as well."