56 Up (2012)
Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 58
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Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: 3.8/5
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"Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. (c) First Run Features
Jan 4, 2013 Limited
Jul 2, 2013
First Run Features - Official Site
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Yes, on some level it's just a seven-year check-in with people maybe half-remembered, if that. Yet the films also serve as a kind of check-in with us, too.
What ultimately is so compelling about 56 Up is the universality of the experiences. We were all once children. And we all will die. And in between, there is everything else.
We feel good, refreshed and depressed in watching these people get older, also embarrassed in moments and cautioned about the passage of time.
Apted skillfully weaves old footage with the new, and we become poignantly aware of another factor shaping their lives (and our own): biology, as the we watch the once-cute kids grow gray and heavy.
Apted, himself now in his early 70s, says he hopes to continue the series further. Long may it live.
Watching "56 Up" gives you the wonderful feeling of seeing a sociological experiment blossom into something novelistically rich and humane.
56 Up has become a stirring reflection, even tribute, to the little bends and turns of ordinariness, the ebbs and surges of everyday lives.
Apted's subjects would object to the idea that we really know them, but we think we do -- and that's good enough to make his film feel like a reunion, a visit with an old friend. Or 14 of them.
Chances are that you'll come away from this long film feeling a sense of knowing its characters.
We might say that '56 Up' serves much the same function as 'Amour,' but it responds to the inevitability of decline with compassion, not dread.
What started as a crafty way of looking at the U.K.'s rigid class structure has grown into a portrait of melancholy middle age, with its heartbreaks and minor-key triumphs.
Watching the eighth film is intriguing but, in a way, disappointing. At this point in the game, it feels as if all the characters have determined their lots in life and are simply plodding through their interviews.
Quite simply one of the great documentary projects in the history of cinema, an engrossing sociological experiment on film; and though this mostly mellow installment isn't as revelatory as some earlier ones, it's still a remarkable document.
... feels like a retrospective and summation of the whole series, with ample quotation from the previous films, an approach that makes it interesting even for viewers who haven't seen the previous installments.
Perhaps the boldest and probably longest running sociological experiment on film.
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