49 Up

"Excellent"

49 Up Review


I admit I've given Michael Apted a hard time about the Up series in the past. Recent installments have been meandering and have seemed to lose focus over what the series is really all about. In the last couple of films, Apted has erred toward sensationalism rather than introspection.

49 Up marks a return to basics and fine form. It's a more thoughtful documentary about life in England, and a better-organized one than the past entries. Finally, for the first time in years, the stories are told with grace and power, and the film really sucks you in. Now that Apted is in his 60s and he's hitting Up with its seventh installment, maybe he's finally determined the best way to present this material.

At 2 hours, 13 minutes, the film is actually seven minutes shorter than 42 Up, finally halting an inexorable creep toward infinite length that found Apted trying to jam more and more footage into each movie. This helps a lot. He carefully divides time among the 12 remaining cast members (two of the original players have dropped out), both giving them time to discuss their lives today vs. contrasting that with what they said in the past.

One player (and forgive me for not keeping all the names straight) says in his youth that he can't imagine keeping a job as a laborer for more than a year or so. At 49, he's still handling freight at Heathrow and has no plans to leave.

Other characters have been remarkably prescient about where their lives would go. The wealthier boys went to Cambridge or Oxford and became barristers, just as they said they would.

One of the women complains for most of her screen time that Apted hasn't portrayed her fairly. Basically she exudes vitriol for 10 minutes, directed at Apted. Obviously she's been carrying this grudge for decades. Meanwhile, we see vividly how "reality" shows can impact a person who, theoretically, is only being "observed."

Inarguably the most fascinating tale is that of Neil, who had a promising life in his teens but was homeless by 28. In a turnaround story of almost impossible proportions, he's turned his life around and is now a local politician and respected member of his rural town. It's a jaw-dropping change to observe.

I'm not sure this is a great film to see theatrically (and it's been produced for television primarily), but it's certainly a film that, for the first time in a long while, it's one I'd recommend you see in some format or another.



49 Up

Facts and Figures

Run time: 180 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 15th September 2005

Box Office Worldwide: $238.1 thousand

Distributed by: First Run Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Claire Lewis

Starring: as Himself (as Bruce), as Herself (as Jackie), as Himself (as Simon), as Himself (as Andrew)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.