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Customer Review

159 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth your money... AND your time, November 27, 2004
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This review is from: The Up Series (Seven Up / 7 Plus Seven / 21 Up / 28 Up / 35 Up / 42 Up) (DVD)
Given one of the most sublime points of this series, that time is precious and fleeting, it's interesting to see that people ask why they should spend so much money on this series, rather than the more important question of why should they spend so much time.

I resisted seeing 42 UP in the theater because I knew that one day these films would be on DVD and I wanted the pure experience of watching them all. Well, here they are and I'm not disappointed.

While Apted is very skillful in using previous clips to make each work stand on it's own, it's far more valuable to see each new clip as it unspools in real-time. For one thing, Apted can't know the future when he makes each installment and so can't edit with an eye to the future (and he admits on the commentary track of 42 UP that the two times he tried, he got it completely wrong -- and in one of those cases lost a valuable participant). For another, much of the richness of each interview is necessarily lost when it's chopped down to a sentence or two in later editions. Some of the most telling and poignant moments are those when one of the subjects gives a look to the camera (or the loved one next to them) in silence. Even Apted comments that about 80% of a particular film is edited out when he makes the next one.

While it's true there is a bit of repetition if you watch all these movies back to back, the total sweep of the experience is awesome which more than makes up for it. Apted does an amazing job by not commenting at all on the subjects (except through editing), letting the individuals speak for themselves. Their statements are loaded in a way that only an outside observe can see.

There are a lot of sad moments here as innocent childhood perceptions get washed away by the realities of life and it's telling that at least one participant seems to have dropped out permanently. One of the lessons that you can see here is that regardless of place in society, not enough of us ever really consider, in a deep way, the values and dictates that our elders speak to us as children. Perhaps that's why Suzy, Neil, Bruce, and Nick stand out for me - each has obviously done deep soul searching even in these snippets of their life. (And what I wouldn't give for an interview with Charles who seems to have reconsidered his life once he didn't get into Oxford.) For all their stature and privilege, John and Andrew seem the least imaginative of the entire lot and have lived lives on the conveyor belt as Charles puts it. Wait for the mid-life crises to erupt in 49 UP.

Be sure to listen to Apted's commentary on the 42 UP program. He clearly explains why Symon was absent on 35 UP (the reason is one might guess after seeing him on 42 UP) and John and Paul are absent (probably forever). It's most telling to me that it is the upper class (privileged) people who have the most problems with the Up Series (apparently Suzy does it reluctantly, but as part of her duty).

Watching this set of DVDs is a totally valuable experience and excellent reminder that our time on this planet is finite, so enjoy them...and life!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 5, 2010 1:41:20 PM PDT
FLbeachbum says:
Nice review, Rocketman, but I'm confused by your statement that "John and Paul are absent". I seem to remember Paul participating in "42 Up". Did you perhaps mean Peter?

Netflix has "49 Up" available now, so I'm looking forward to viewing that... it's all a great, thought-provoking series.

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 1:26:21 AM PST
Doesn't the film begin with a quote "Give me a child / boy at seven and I'll show you the man."? I believe that is the premise - the examination, through fourteen socially different children and their subsequent lives, of the validity of that age-old aphorism. Are our characters largely formed by the time we are seven? That is worthy of much more than a quick swipe of pschological impatience. The question in the statement is one of character. How often does a stable, self-posessed child of seven become an emotionally crippled, socially disfunctional adult or visa versa? Lessons are learned, individuals grow or pass the years adrift. I think it becomes clear in the film that the adults are remarkably tethered to their sense of who they were when they were initially filmed at aged seven. The desire in every manifestation of human expression for the transformative capacity of humans to transcend themselves is not reflected in much of reality. That's like saying humans are essentially evolved from say, the people of ancient Athens. We process a fantastically larger amount of information on a daily basis, true. We may have a bit more capacity upstairs, bigger and stronger bodies - potentially anyway. But lust is lust, greed is greed, war is ever-present. I think the statement stands, the film chronicles the threads, the tempering of youth by the hammer of life and at the end of each film it requires less effort not more to see the connection between child and adult.

Posted on Mar 13, 2015 2:28:00 AM PDT
Hi, I would like to know if this dvd set has Closed Captioning (the CC symbol on the back) or Subtitles English? As Im deaf I would need these, hoping this dvd set has these. Let me know soon.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2015 8:52:23 PM PDT
It looks like it doesn't (because when they are captioned, Amazon mentions it in the description), and another review mentioned that most of them didn't. BUT...I read in a comment that Netflix right now is streaming all of them with captions. I just went and checked out the first one on Netflix (7 up) and yes, it does have captions.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2015 7:02:06 AM PDT
Wow thank you Peter, I appreciate the reply. I will go check out netflix for this, thanks so much for letting me know.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2015 8:08:11 PM PDT
You are welcome Michelle. When you search for fourteen up it's called 7 plus seven. Even though I can's really hard to understand the different British accents. The subtitles help. Enjoy!
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