January 4, 2013
Studio: First Run Features
Director: Michael Apted
MPAA Rating: N/A
Starring: Michael Apted, Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield, John Brisby, Peter Davies, Suzanne Dewey
Copyright Holder: N/A
Official website: FirstRunFeatures.com/56Up
The latest installment in the ground breaking documentary film series known as "The Up" series. In 1964, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Apted ("Coal Miner's Daughter," "Gorillas in the Mist," "The World is Not Enough," "Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader") began his career as a researcher on a new experimental series for Granada TV called "Seven Up," which explored the Jesuit maxim “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds from all over England, to see whether a class system was in place. By asking the children about their lives and their dreams for the future, differences in attitudes and opportunity were witnessed. For almost a half century, Apted has interviewed the original group every seven years, examining the progression of their lives. Now they are 56. From cab driver Tony, to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the iconoclast Neil, the present age brings more life-changing decisions and surprising developments. From success and disappointment, marriage and childbirth, to poverty and illness, nearly every facet of life is discussed with the group, as they assess whether their lives have ultimately been ruled by circumstance or self-determination. "21 Up" was full of hope, "28" was about children and responsibility, "35" was concerned with mortality when some were losing parents, and "49" had a sense of disappointment with lives maybe not fully achieved. Yet "56" is quite different again, which goes to prove, if nothing else, that the series mirrors life, and is always full of surprises.