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56 Up (2013)


Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 64
Fresh: 63
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Director Michael Apted continues to utilize cinema as a window into the lives of everyday people, and in the reflection of this documentary we can glimpse our own aging humanity.

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 27
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Director Michael Apted continues to utilize cinema as a window into the lives of everyday people, and in the reflection of this documentary we can glimpse our own aging humanity.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 6,848


Movie Info

"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

Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jul 2, 2013
Box Office:
First Run Features - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for 56 Up

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (1)

This suffers as well from the fact that the subjects' lives haven't changed all that much since 49 Up (2005); perhaps the series will improve yet as they head into old age.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The original documentary was intended to illustrate how the country's deeply ingrained class system inscribed itself on the aspirations and inner lives of its young people. But the successive movies have been far less polemical.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

We're now at 56 Up,, and with each passing calendar leap, the experience of watching has only become more soul-stirring.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

We feel good, refreshed and depressed in watching these people get older, also embarrassed in moments and cautioned about the passage of time.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

As the project hits its half-century mark, with the "kids" settling into middle age, the signature cross-cutting between then, now and everything in between feels downright Proustian in its emotional depth.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
NOW Toronto

Apted, now 72, has said he'll keep calling on his subjects every seven years until he or they are dead. Whether the subjects show up or not, I for one will be in line when 63 Up comes around.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Salt Lake Tribune

a window into our shared human experience, and a terrific one at that.

Full Review… | July 8, 2013
Film Racket

56 Up has become a stirring reflection, even tribute, to the little bends and turns of ordinariness, the ebbs and surges of everyday lives.

Full Review… | May 6, 2013
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

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.

Full Review… | April 11, 2013

Chances are that you'll come away from this long film feeling a sense of knowing its characters.

Full Review… | March 21, 2013
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

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.

Full Review… | March 8, 2013
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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.

Full Review… | February 28, 2013
Bloomberg News

In 49 Up, many of the series' subjects seemed to be just settling into their bliss; now they're committed to it, and the foreclosed possibilities that come alongside.

Full Review… | February 23, 2013
Philadelphia City Paper

Those British kids are now 56

Full Review… | February 22, 2013
Movie Habit

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.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013
National Post

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.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013
One Guy's Opinion

... 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.

Full Review… | February 15, 2013

A completely unique and remarkable documentary project.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for 56 Up

As fascinating as it can be for many to see the changes in the participants over the years, it can be just as interesting for cineastes to see how the series evolves over time, namely how it has become increasingly self-aware. For example, one person returns to the series after decades away to promote his band while another uses it to continue to promote Bulgarian charities successfully. And I loved the Buzz Aldrin story, by the way.

But what I gained this time around was a profound knowledge of how different Great Britain really is, especially how university education is not necessarily a given over there, unlike here in the States. So, maybe the class system is alive and well in Britain, despite one who protests it was never there in the first place, followed by a scene of a fox hunt.

This time, the politics is less about the subtext, becoming front and center with Michael Apted even calling out one of the participants for some of his objectionable comments. This is all in the wake of the Great Recession which drastically alters some lives at an age where people would be ordinarily starting to look forward to retirement, just as London takes center stage in the world for the Summer Olympics in 2012.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

The best of the Michael Apted series thus far mainly because the subjects now have the wisdom of at least half a lifetime and can reflect back on what was said in previous programs with new knowledge of life.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Far more than just a movie 56 UP and the Up series stand alone as one of the most sociological important touchstones of our time. Astounding to see the child-like wonderment give way to harsh reality in most of the children. It gives one pause to reflect on their own life and see how far one has come...or not. This is cinematic perfection. (3-3-13 UT)

John C

Super Reviewer

I am so glad I finally got to watch this. I realise most of the participants don't really like being a part if this any more (if they ever did), but I still find it fascinating.

I also was left thinking two of the participants had married each other for a moment. That would have been interesting.

Angela Alcorn

Super Reviewer

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