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- Exclusive Bonus Interview: Roger Ebert talks with director Michael Apted
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Top Customer Reviews
If you only watch 49 Up, you'll get enough back story to know who these people are, but the most satisfying approach is to go through the documentaries in the order they were shot. We are voyeurs in the lives of: Andrew, John and Suzie, upper-class kids who knew early on who they were and what they would do; Simon and Paul, abandoned by their mothers and raised in an orphanage; Jackie, Sue and Lynne, working class girls from London's East End; Nick and Neil, middle class kids with an intellectual bent; Tony, a lively, lovable Cockney; and Bruce, who moves up and down the class ladder. The films prove that you can see the man or woman who will emerge in the child of seven. Their personalities are set; all that's unknown are the circumstances under which their lives will play out.
These are ordinary people; the genius of the series is that they become particular enough to us over the course of the films to feel special. We care about them, and what happens to them. At 49, the group seems much happier than they were in the previous two films. Most of them have passed through the trauma of losing their parents, and they've made peace with career successes and setbacks.Read more ›
It has been suggested that the series was originally intended to illustrate that children born into various social classes were destined to follow a specific course in life. But time has revealed something very different: that money, class, and education are superficial differences, and that all of us are bound by our common human experience. Every one of the participants has dealt with some sort of adversity -- the death of parents, divorce, illness, depression, loss of a job -- but has persevered with the love and support of family and friends. We learn about their joys, too -- the arrival of grandchildren, a new love, a new career.
Another reviewer commented that time has not been kind to most of the participants from a physical standpoint. No doubt a young person wrote that! Yes, many folks our age (including me) have put on some extra pounds, lost hair or gone grayer, or developed a few wrinkles. But I find their faces kinder and wiser and more beautiful, even more so when those who are married reaffirm their love for one another and talk about how their spouses have helped them through the hard times.
One thing that impresses me is that all of the subjects are good people -- not perfect, not immune from taking a wrong turn once in a while, but trying hard to do the right thing in life. I am so proud of all of them and can hardly wait seven years to find out how they have fared since I saw them last.
There are challenges ahead for Michael Apted and his crew.Read more ›
"Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man," goes a Jesuit proverb, which the 'Up' documentaries quote. At seven year intervals Director Apted revisited 14 children in his native country of Britain. This was early "reality TV" before the concept was given a name. While the children were from so-called "diverse" backgrounds, they were mostly economic diverse rather than ethnically diverse. All but one are Caucasian. What is amazing is that all 14 are still living at age 49 and, though one woman has said that she doesn't wish to continue to participate in the series, all 14 are covered in this most recent chapter of the series.
The most important thing to know is that this film stands on it's own and does not require watching the previous chapters. Director Apted uses enough footage from the prior films to, not only bring you up to date, but to show you immediate similarities to what the "kids" looked like as they grew older. Though I may go back to the films I missed, I didn't feel that it was necessary.
At over 2 hours in length, this is not a short film but it will hold your attention.
As a bonus the DVD adds a 30 minute interview with Director Apted and film critic Roger Ebert. This only adds to the enjoyment of the DVD. Strangely, what sounds like an air conditioner running in the background (or it could be just poor miking) runs through the interview that was recorded in June 2006.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have loved the Apted series. Yes, there are faults, but to watch the life paths of these folks is a joy.Published 19 months ago by Kit Angell
This is really a great video, something that many students can benefit from to help them with their future. Came in good condition.Published on March 27, 2014 by J. Cooper
give me a boy at 7 and i will show you the man.
Superb series which follows the lives of children from all backgrounds. Read more
Every person under age of 50 should see this film. I am well over my 40s, but this is an excellent documentary. I wish I had seen it while in my 30s, 40s, or 50s. Well done! Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Mar
If you are 50+ then this is the DVD for you. As stated in the documentary this is not about the people being interviewed every seven years. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by Gregory
The 'Up Series' represents one of the most fascinating and unusual uses of film in cinema history - a documentary life-long chronicle of the lives of 14 people starting at 7 years... Read morePublished on February 26, 2011 by K. Gordon