This review is going to come across as some sort of jealous rant, for the most part it probably is. But I just don't understand how 51 Birch Street is so much better than my own film The Turning Point. It seems like one well known critic attaches themselves to a film and it makes the film, other critics join in, and the film winds up on year end top ten lists and picked up by HBO. While, my own film, another homemade family documentary, which I believe is just as well made, can barely get into the smallest of film festivals.
That's not a knock against this film, it is a well done personal documentary. After his mother dies, filmmaker Doug Block takes a journey into his family's past. He learns about who his parents really were and are. His father was in love with another woman, who he soon marries and moves to Florida with. He finds out his mother was a writer and that she kept a journal for much of her life. He follows the clues of the diary to much greater understanding of his family's life.
It's a very interesting personal journey that makes you wonder what you don't know about your own parents. It's something that I think most of us probably take for granted, that our parents had lives before we came along. Hopes, dreams, and love lives that we never knew about.
I'm happy for filmmaker Doug Block, who runs my favorite documentary website The D-Word. He's a talented filmmaker, and he deserves the attention; it'll help him get films made more easily in the future. And I'm interested in seeing more of his stories.
For now I'm jealous, I hope my film can gain half the attention his did.