To see "56 Up" is to be reunited with an old friend. Make that 13 old friends, together again for a documentary project the likes of which the world has never seen.
It all started in 1964, when
That 40-minute program went so well that future director
One idea behind the original "Seven Up," inspired by the Jesuit notion of "Give me the child until he is 7, and I will give you the man," was to see whether
Apted has also been the interviewer on all the documentaries, and that continuity has been invaluable in encouraging from-the-heart candor from the participants. They speak to him as if they were talking to an old friend or perhaps to an avuncular therapist they've been going to for decades.
One pleasure of "56 Up" is the ability to continue to eavesdrop on private lives, to see how things have turned out for these individuals as compared with what they hoped for in earlier episodes.
This latest film features a generous selection of footage from all seven previous ones (expertly edited together by
For those looking for life lessons from these stories, two key ones emerge: the significance of family, especially a lasting relationship, for personal happiness, and the importance of education for success in the workplace and the world.
More than previous episodes, "56 Up" deals with the annoyance interviewees feel about how the world has reacted to their stories. Several felt irked that viewers tend to think they know all about them when they really don't, and in fact three of the original 14 were irritated enough to leave the series at one time or another, with only one still absent.
Peter, for example, who is newly returned after a 28-year absence, is candid that he is returning now because he is happier and because he wants to publicize The Good Intentions, the band he is now in.
Neil, who was Peter's childhood friend in
Perhaps the most resilient of "56 Up's" participants are a trio of women -- Sue, Lynn and Jackie -- who were best friends growing up in
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"56 Up" Movie Trailer
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 2:24.
Credits: Directed by
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