The Kids Grow Up

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The second in a proposed self-reflective doc trilogy, director Doug Block's embarrassingly honest follow-up to 51 Birch Street (2005) is a neurotic, occasionally poignant rumination on his teenage daughter doing just what the title says. Since Lucy was born, the filmmaker has obsessively, semiapologetically recorded her entire life via camcorder---a trait that's indicative of Block not only being a professional filmmaker but also, apparently, being part of the tech-crazed generation that made America's Funniest Home Videos a pop-culture phenomenon. After a childhood spent under Dad's spotlight ("Do you feel your life has changed?" he asks Lucy when she takes her driving test, a memory juxtaposed with earlier footage of her first ear piercing), an exasperated daughter is now ready to move away to college. Block, on the other hand, is falling to pieces.

We know the kids grow up, and films like Capturing the Friedmans, Tarnation and Michael Apted's Up series have documented that passing of time. But what sets Block's take on the subject apart is that it's neither an eccentric tragedy nor a strictly anthropological observation. It's a film about the frustrations and fears of every parent, a potentially annoying project made palatable by the warts-and-all inclusion of testimonies from his wife, friends and Lucy, all of whom call Block out on his cinematic Peter Pan complex.

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By: Aaron Hillis



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