REVIEW: THE KIDS GROW UP
In his 51 BIRCH STREET, one of the most highly praised personal documentaries of recent years, award-winning director Doug Block took a hard look at his parents’ 54-year marriage and his own relationship with his father. With his latest feature documentary, Block turns in the other direction, offering an exceptionally moving film about his relationship with his only child, Lucy. Utilizing a lifetime of family footage, he crafts not only a loving portrait of a girl transitioning into womanhood, but an incredibly candid look at modern-day parenting, marriage, and what it means to let go..
Told from Block’s engaging first-person perspective, THE KIDS GROW UP focuses on Lucy’s last year at home before leaving for college. It turns out to be a turbulent time of transition for the entire family. Doug’s stepson Josh (14 years Lucy’s elder) has a child, making Doug and his wife Marjorie first-time grandparents. Marjorie endures a severe episode of clinical depression, her first in 13 years, then fully recovers. Lucy has her first serious romantic relationship, only to grapple with whether or not to break it off before leaving for college. And Doug’s dwelling on Lucy’s imminent departure masks a deeper conflict about aging and the looming empty nest..
Moving seamlessly between past, present and the fast-approaching future, we see Lucy blossom from precocious kid to serious and self-possessed young woman over the course of the film. Meanwhile, Doug’s continuing effort to come to peace with his aging authoritarian father, contrasted with Josh’s eagerness to be a stay-at-home dad, illustrates just how far conceptions of fatherhood have shifted over the generations..
With the clock ticking ever closer towards the day Lucy leaves, Block struggles to find a balance between being a filmmaker and a father and tensions flare. As he comes to understand the difference between love and attachment, it becomes apparent that THE KIDS GROW UP is not just Lucy’s coming of age story but very much her father’s as well.
From 51 Birch Street to The Kids Grow
Doug Block on making personal
The Block Family Reacts to The Kids Grow
In Memory of Mike Block
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