Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Summary: Director Michael Apted revisits the same group of British-born adults he has been chronicling in documentaries every seven years since they were each 7 years old. The original concept, starting in 1964's "Seven Up," 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, Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. From cab driver Tony to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the heart-breaking Neil, as they turn 56 more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed. (First Run Features) Expand
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: 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Jan 24, 2013
    Every profile is fascinating, but certain ones stand out.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

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. Expand
  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. Expand
  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. Collapse