Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5
Time marches on! 56 Up is the latest installment in the documentary series that has visited the same people every seven years to see how their lives have evolved. The series started with when they were seven years old. This airs as a TV special in the UK, but is released here as a movie. The series started out to look at class differences in England, but has evolved to show how people evolve, with the many twists and turns that life takes. The first installment had 14 participants; of those, 13 are still participating. Some have been successful and others not so successful. Many have had ups and downs, with divorces, physical and mental health issues, etc.
Michael Apted directs and he does a fine job of including clips from previous films and different ages. It is not important to have seen previous movies. This is the type of movie that makes you reflect on your own life (especially for those like me, roughly the age of the participants—if the initial show had been in N.Y. it could have been little Billy and Billy being followed and giving our views on movies all these years!). The folks in the movie have definitely started to age and they are now at a time in their lives where they look back on their successes and failures, the choices they could have made, and how their view of the world has changed over the years. Many reflected on how their kids are doing and the job they did raising them.
It takes a few minutes to adjust to the British accents, and the movie could have been a little shorter than 2.5 hours, but I’d definitely recommend seeing 56 Up if you get the chance.