Sunday, February 24, 2013

56 Up / The Up Series

The Up Series is arguably the most ambitious film project ever made.  49 years ago filmmaker Michael Apted embarked on a project to select 14 British seven year olds from different socioeconomic backgrounds and follow their progress in life every seven years.  Now 56 years old, these same subjects are being interviewed for the eighth time and are revealing the intimate details of the highs and lows of their lives including marriages, divorces, kids, career changes, money issues, health problems, difficulties coping with society, and the deaths of loved ones.  In essence, this is real life for regular people, from start to finish, like no other reality program you've ever seen.  Who amongst them will accomplish their goals and live happily ever after, and who will suffer the setbacks and tragedies of life?  Some of them appreciate and try to capitalize on the recognition the project has given them, some bail out and refuse to continue on, and others hesitantly continue despite ruing the day they got involved.  It's fascinating voyeurism at its best.

For those of you uninitiated with the series, you can still watch this film, but you won't appreciate it nearly as much as someone who has followed their progress since age seven.  This is a big time commitment, with the eight installments' cumulative running time at approximately 15 hours, a lot of which are repeated clips you'll see over and over again.  And it takes several hours to really get into it.  But if you're game for a significant time investment, this one really pays off.  There's truly nothing else like it.  By now, I feel like I actually know these people and I'm honestly crushed that I won't find out what's going on with their lives for another seven years.

Grade: A


  1. Yes! Glad you liked it. Truly one of the greatest things in film. I feel like I know Bruce, Nick, Suzie, etc. more than anyone in my extended family.

    Say you had a wife
    Say you had to eat what they cooked you
    Say I don't like greens (well I don't)
    Say she said you have to eat what you get
    Say I don't like greens
    Say she gives me greens

    ...and that's it...

    1. Yup, I feel the same. And I've seen that clip eight times now and it still never gets old and got a laugh from the audience today.