49 Up is the seventh film in a series of landmark documentaries that began 42 years ago when UK-based Granada's World in Action team, inspired by the Jesuit maxim "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man," interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old children from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher for the original film, has returned to interview the "children" every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49.In this latest chapter, more life-changing decisions are revealed, more shocking announcements made and more of the original group take part than ever before, speaking out on a variety of subjects including love, marriage, career, class and prejudice.
Best documentary series ever.
There's not much I can say about 49 Up that I haven't already said about its predecessors and successors: they together represent the ultimate truth that the drama of everyday life is just as gripping as the greatest story concocted by the greatest imagination. We don't realise it day to day, but it's easy to see across the course of seven years that our existences are the most poignant cosmic dramas, finely balanced between hope and disappointment, happiness and depression, healthiness and death. This series doesn't just chronicle life; it is life.
"People getting older, fatter, and losing their hair"
The UP SERIES seventh outing continues the great fascination of peoples lives through time jumps of 7 years.
A couple interesting accounts in this film, the participants continue to break the barrier between interviewer/subject and really start to voice the hardships or discomfort of being in this series. And rightly so, no one really wants to be reminded of past mistakes or to be shown how foolish they could have been.
Everyone here seems to be in a comfortable spot of their lives though. Some new beginnings, some adjustments, some closure. Underlining talk of mundane subjects like tile colors really paints the stereotype of people in older age. Kind of funny and charming in the same breath.
The UP series defies these stars and grades, since any one entry isn't going to be much more than a reserved B+, but taken as a whole they are one of the most affecting movies in the history of cinema. At this point it has thoroughly transcended its origins as sociopolitical thought-experiment and has become a slow, real-time meditation on lifespan itself. Despite some of Apted's admitted missteps near the beginning, in which he attempted to guide the subjects toward his own agendas, these men and women steadfastly insist upon their dignity simply by existing as themselves, and the effect of watching an entitled young prat like John (who at 7 is sort of bratty and pompous in a way…
Though director Michael Apted’s seven-year interval visits with the subjects first chronicled in 1965’s Seven-Up rank as a monumental achievement in documentary film, the periodic updates don’t seem to have a lot new to say any more about these people in particular, or about class in England in general. Few of the subjects have changed appreciably since we last saw them in 1999; most have settled into stable late-middle age, their most piercing insights relating to being filmed every seven years. But at this point, Apted’s installments are less about their individual artistic merit than they are about their place in an epic study of the human experience. It’s like The Truman Show given real-life shape, and I’d suggest that qualifies both as something fascinating, and something of value.
The Up series keeps getting better and better. This is the most heartfelt and incredible film so far.
Best as part of the full series.