Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 30, 2013
    It is a mystery, this business of life. I can't think of any under cinematic undertaking that allows us to realize that more deeply.
  2. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 15, 2013
    In the end, that just might be the takeaway from the "Up" series, that a 28-year-old, say, has more in common with another 28-year-old than with his own incarnation at 70. Who knows? There are mysteries of life captured within the frames of this film that are eluding our grasp. We're still too close to it.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 4, 2013
    What gives the series its force is not just its universality but also its particularity. These grown-ups may be Everyman, but they are also singular.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 8, 2013
    The attitude of many “UP” fans hovers between voyeurism and concern, between cherishing these people as distant friends and as extensions of ourselves. They’re canaries in the coal mine of human existence.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 10, 2013
    This unique enterprise, which began as a documentary experiment almost a half century ago, has grown into an inspiring testimonial to the unpredictability of the human spirit.
  6. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 3, 2013
    Life rushes by so fast, it flickers today and is gone tomorrow. In 56 Up - the latest installment in Michael Apted's remarkable documentary project that has followed a group of Britons since 1964, starting when they were 7 - entire lifetimes race by with a few edits.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jan 4, 2013
    56 Up is as good a point as any to get hooked on the magnificent half-century series of documentaries, beginning in 1964 with "7 Up."
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 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.
  9. 100
    56 Up feels like the most hopeful film of them all - amusing, entertaining, and touching.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 28, 2013
    What makes 56 Up, like the “Up” films before it, so remarkable is how it puts these stories together, giving us an ensemble of characters as interesting as any in a scripted drama.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Jan 2, 2013
    By now, grandchildren are ever-present, and stasis has set in. Apted's entire project is awesome in scale but subject to inevitable diminishing returns.
  12. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 24, 2013
    In all, these men and women don't seem to have the seething ambitions and the restlessness of so many Americans. They don't expect to get rich, somehow, next year. They may be happier than we are but they're also less colorful. [28 Jan. 2012, p.80]
  13. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Jan 3, 2013
    Certain moments in the film resemble nothing so much as attending a school reunion, being buttonholed by an old acquaintance and shown snapshots of the grandkids. A complacently conservative acceptance sometimes seems to blanket all of 56 Up, as if maturity entails a serene blessing of the status quo.
  14. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 31, 2012
    Apted once wanted to give us "glimpses into Britain's future," per the archival-footage announcer. With this installment, he's delivered an intimate portrait of settling down and finally making peace with one's well-publicized past.
  15. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jan 2, 2013
    However crafted their stories may have become, and however reluctantly they participate, their sacrifice will be appreciated by history, and by the next generation of voyeurs as well.
  16. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jan 3, 2013
    Self-contained enough for theatrical audiences new to the series, it will play best with those who've come to care for these Brits over time.
  17. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Dec 30, 2012
    The series is both a testimonial to the vagaries of chance and an endlessly cyclical study into the implications of being studied.
  18. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Jan 24, 2013
    Every profile is fascinating, but certain ones stand out.
  19. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jan 4, 2013
    This is more social anthropology than psychology. 56 Up isn't concerned so much with opening up individual lives as it is with showing us how the journey of an ordinary life - or over a dozen ordinary lives - can offer insights into our own, and into society. The effect is often profoundly moving, but you can't help but feel at times like there are other stories here you're missing.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Feb 18, 2013
    This film is both good entertainment as well as a brief study in human development and how this small group of British 7 year olds faired for 56 years. There's a huge range from the lives of the wealthy and priviledged to those struggling with misfortunes and tragic beginnings. It's also an insightful commentary on various aspects of society the past forty years. Full Review »
  2. Mar 23, 2013
    You may be familiar with this series from before, but I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how it has changed. It is clearer in picture and sound (that is to say, the archival footage seems improved), and better edited than in previous incarnations. So if you thought you saw enough at '35 Up' or '42 Up', it is less of a slog now. Though it is hard to be comprehensive about these life stories in short gulps every seven years, still it is fascinating and the sheer images of styles and settings thru the years is rewarding in its own way too. As a cursory summary for the participants, I must say that the people seem more satisfied and relaxed than before, and there is a level of happiness that just doesn't exist in the United States as far as I have encountered. I don't know if that has to do with the British lifestyle, or benefits the government has provided, or other cultural factors... but there seems to be a general feeling of gratitude with what life has brought them and very little sense of disaster or regret. Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2013
    i love this series, had the chance to attend the nyc with michael apted. i learnt the following: the uk release is legally only TV, there are soviet, USA and european versions of UP -evidently not as good-, apted takes into account feedback from his docu-subjects, evidently they have grown together (in every possible sense). the series is the best longitudinal sociological study ever and a good entertainment piece: perfection. Full Review »