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

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.