The Roots

“The Kids Grow Up” is a filmic scrapbook of a child’s life.

Grace Gouker

WHAT: The Kids Grow Up

WHEN:Feb. 25 at 7:15 p.m.

WHERE: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. S.E.,
Minneapolis

COST: $6 – $8.50

ItâÄôs unfathomable to have a parent extensively record your life from birth until high-school graduation. Pictures at the zoo at five years old, sure. The occasional piano recital and coronation ceremony videos, yeah. The beginning of a first relationship on VHS, couch cuddling included? Please, God, no!

Doug Block, creator of âÄú51 Birch Street,âÄù âÄî which chronicled his own relationship with an understanding of his parents and their relationship âÄî took on the shaky venture with his daughter, Lucy. The difference between the two projects was a sincere openness on the part of the subject and clear communication about when Block was going too far.

âÄúLucy didnâÄôt mind the camera. And if it became irritating for her, she said so,âÄù Block said. âÄúThere were recognized boundaries.âÄù

Block still incorporates many of the tactics he used in âÄú51 Birch StreetâÄù to critique the inner workings of a real family âÄî his family âÄî in âÄúThe Kids Grow Up.âÄù With camera in hand, he omnisciently records the most mundane of moments immediately following LucyâÄôs developmental milestones.

One of these moments is when LucyâÄôs mother, Marjorie, is faced with the camera lens during a relapse of serious depression. Whether itâÄôs due to LucyâÄôs departure for college or her overwhelming stress, Marjorie is simultaneously alienated by the camera and willing to give insight into this state of being.

MarjorieâÄôs more personal moments with her daughter are also documented with extensive coverage such as when Lucy is preparing to leave for Pomona College.

âÄú[When a child leaves] itâÄôs a growing up experience for the parent, as well,âÄù Block said. âÄúItâÄôs a double coming-of-age story, so to speak.âÄù

The documentarian examines how formidable the transition from high school to college can be for not only the kid leaving, but for the parent, too.

âÄúOn the one hand, youâÄôre excited to see your child go off, and youâÄôre glad youâÄôve done your job,âÄù Block said. âÄúBut on the other hand, selfishly speaking, itâÄôs difficult. YouâÄôre torn because you figure, for the sake of your kid, you donâÄôt want to let them in on what itâÄôs doing to you.âÄù

Block appears to havecreated this documentary about his daughter to assert the fact that he is more engaged and open with her than his parents were with him. This compensatory action does not come across as misguided or contrived, however, which is an overwhelming relief.

The film reenacts moments that compile a lifetime relationship between child and parent, which is often hidden or forgotten when the child leaves home. For Block, the documentary is not trying to clutch those moments. It builds a history for his daughter âÄî cringe as she might âÄî so she does not forget those roots.