A companion piece to his 51 Birch Street, The Kids Grow Up nominally charts director Doug Block’s daughter from childhood to her departure for college, though while the filmmaker intends the film to be a rumination on his own empty nest hang-ups, it in fact soon becomes a portrait of the documentarian as an insufferably overbearing, camcorder-infatuated pest. Fanatically recording his daughter’s every stage of development, which includes forcing her to engage in introspective Q&A sessions about her intimate emotions, Block finds himself struggling with daughter Lucy’s estrangement from him, which is the byproduct not just of her normal maturation into an independent young woman – which disturbs Block, who’s described by his wife Marjorie as a man-child fearful of growing up – but also of her father’s insistence on incessantly filming her. Block’s dedication to capturing every moment through a camera’s lens, which in his home movie footage often greatly upsets Lucy and frustrates Marjorie, makes him an unbearable narrator/guide. Similarly, his fixation on the sadness that will accompany Lucy leaving for college (across the country no less, to escape her father’s cinematographic gaze) is at once relatable but so over-the-top consuming and indulgent that one wants to scream at him, as his stepson so aptly puts it, to “get over it.” As such, The Kids Grow Up’s examination of empty nest syndrome – a process Block also deals with vis-à-vis his relationship to his ailing father – is undone by his excessively obsessive behavior. Still, in his intense fear of losing not just the adult Lucy but, fundamentally, the already-gone adolescent version of Lucy as well, the film does get at the way in which parental responsibility becomes a defining and desirable aspect of life. And in his off-putting refusal to stop taping, Block unwittingly provides a glimpse of the unhealthy and potentially damaging parental desire to preserve and memorialize every second of family life (which prevents full engagement with the very life being recorded) and, more generally still, of the repugnance of unchecked nostalgia.