Just finished watching this hour and a half documentary called 51 Birch Street – twice! I will very rarely watch a movie twice, much less back to back. However, after watching it alone the first time, I convinced my wife to watch it with me the second time. Recently, very few movies out there have moved me, but this movie I believe speaks to the true essence of life and how not knowing how to love ultimately causes your one’s own personal misery. The movie touches on a subject I think most people struggle with – truth. The filmmaker, Doug Block, really puts himself in a very vulnerable position, knowing that as life passes us by, that we only have so much time on this earth to iron out issues and genuinely connect with our parents in a way opens the floodgates of love.
The movies is about Mike and Mina Block who were married for 54 years and appears on the surface to have a rock solid marriage. However, after the death of Mina, the mother of the filmmaker, and the subsequent remarriage of his father just 3 months later to his former secretary, Doug (the filmmaker) realizes there was more to his parents’ marriage that he was oblivious to. Through his mother’s diaries, he bravely discovers the introspection marriage partners go through during a lifetime.
What makes this movie so powerful is that I think we can relate to some degree to the family in the movie, whether it’s our grandparents, parents, or our own marriage. I’m not certain the movie comes with any solutions, but at best, provides some wisdom and may help in understanding some of the emotions we go through during the adventure and lifelong commitment we call marriage.
The movie was made in 2006 and is available on DVD from Netflix. Also, believe the full length feature may be viewable online. Highly recommended.