Blocks (2020) dir. Bridget Moloney
Mature language and situations. Parental discretion advised.
Raising kids isn’t hard! Which is to say, every repetitive action required to sustain a young human being is itself not difficult though these tasks must be learned and repeated ad nauseum on top of all the other activities one does to sustain ones own being, which is to say it’s actually impossible. And when there’s a choice between the physical and mental well-being of one’s child and one’s self, the self often takes a back seat. Sometimes the self reflexively fights back.
“Blocks” is like a short, sweeter companion to Eraserhead in that it converts parental anxiety into surreal body horror. The anxieties of parenting definitely include fears for the well-being of one’s child, but a not-insignificant portion traces to the fear of losing one’s own identity. Objects associated with those repetitive activities, like tiny goddamn blocks that need picked up every day, become totems of that fear. And as it so often does, the fear has physical consequences.
“There’s shit everywhere,” our protagonist’s husband observes. “Like, actual shit?” she asks. Prior to having children, she would automatically understand “shit” in this case refers to “clutter.” Now there is the real possibility of fecal matter. Parenting means expanding the imagination around the role of bodily functions, which is why the vomited Lego blocks works so well as a metaphor. Her solution also resonates as a “make do with the new normal” message, something I imagine even the childless can relate to.