56 Up Reviews

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Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
January 1, 2014
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.
Greg Evans
Bloomberg News
February 28, 2013
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 | Original Score: ***1/2
Steve Macfarlane
Slant Magazine
December 30, 2012
The series is both a testimonial to the vagaries of chance and an endlessly cyclical study into the implications of being studied.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Emily Kirkpatrick
Paste Magazine
January 4, 2013
Being able to view this slice of life (no matter how contrived or edited it may be by the shows producers) provides an enjoyable and provocative perspective into humanity.
Full Review | Original Score: 8.3/10
Shaun Munro
What Culture
June 3, 2012
The most vital and moving sociological document of our times remains invigorating despite mostly maintaining the status quo because by now the "characters", older, balder, and podgier, are like old friends.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Alison Gang
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 25, 2013
Apted possesses the unsettling ability to shape perceptions of their lives and personalities from inside an editing suite, a fact that the members of his flock begin to recognize at varying points throughout their adult years.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Roger Moore
Tribune News Service
January 12, 2013
The latest, and perhaps greatest installment in a great documentary series. Moving, amusing and eye-opening.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Sam Adams
Philadelphia City Paper
February 23, 2013
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 | Original Score: A-
Christopher Campbell
Film School Rejects
January 5, 2013
For those of us already fans of the series and invested in the characters over the course of seven films and 42 years it's a necessary continuation and curiosity.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 31, 2013
We are all older now, and this series proves it in a most deeply moving way.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 10, 2013
"56 Up" reminds us that change is ceaseless and often dramatic, bringing growth we could never have dreamed of as little kids.
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
February 14, 2013
A completely unique and remarkable documentary project.
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
January 16, 2013
The granddaddy of longitudinal documentaries impressively reaches grandparenthood. . . continuing to reveal as much about the heard (but not seen) Apted as his interviewees.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Mike Scott
Times-Picayune
April 11, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
February 7, 2013
"56 Up" is well worth seeing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Chris Barsanti
PopMatters
January 24, 2013
In the eighth installment of Michael Apted's epochal documentary series, his aging participants (one of cinema's greatest assemblage of living characters) provide not just a telescope into the past but also a kind of primer for how to live.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Sarah Boslaugh
PopMatters
February 15, 2013
... 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 | Original Score: 7/10
Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central
February 7, 2013
I think the best thing about this movie (and the entire series) is that it forces the viewer to think about their own lives. It's kind of an awakening experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Bill Gibron
Film Racket
July 8, 2013
a window into our shared human experience, and a terrific one at that.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
January 3, 2013
It shows that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. And how, in case we forget, every age can predict the next.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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