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49 Up 2005
Description: 49 Up is the seventh movie in a series of landmark documentaries that began 42 years ago when UK-based Granada's Globe in Action team, inspired by the Jesuit maxim "Give me the kid until he is seven and I will give you the man," interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old kids from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher for the original film, has returned to interview the "children" each seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and actually again at age 49.In this recent chapter, more life-changing decisions are revealed, more shocking announcements made and more of the original group take part than ever before, speaking out on a tons of topics including love, marriage, career, class and prejudice.
Released: 15 Sep 2005 Director: Michael Apted, Paul Almond Writers: N/A Actors: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield Genres: Documentary, Biography
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49 Up Reviews:

It is not quite a 50th Birthday invitation, but as most of the original cast of the landmark documentary 7 Up, approach the large 5-0, we are invited back into their lives to celebrate their most newest trials and tribulations in Michael Apted's 49 Up. It was the Up series that launched Apted's career, and he actually has some thirty games under his belt, including James Bond: The Globe Is Not Enough and Gorilla's in the Midst.The Up series began in 1964 as a sociological experiment. Apted, armed with a video camera, set out see if life was pre ordained for kids by the class they were born into. To use this concept, 14 kids of the same age, but born into varying social strata's were filmed interacting together at a zoo. The Up series is credited with paving the method for another historically necessary screen documentaries. It is remarkable in itself that Apted has managed to hold track of the original, and willing Up participants. As her revisits them each 7 years, the footage from these lengthy interviews is what makes up the series. By 49 Up, the 'class outcomes' are place to bed.Apted could be credited for moving beyond the class wars, and selecting to focus on adventure and private growth of his participants as the best tag of achievement. This was summed up beautifully by a UK film buff: "in a true sense, all are successful, when we define success as finding fulfillment in where you are and in what you do." The best success storyline and Apted's own private favorite is the storyline of Neil. After learning of Neil's stints of homelessness, and war with mental illness, fellow Up participant Bruce, threw him a life line 7 years ago by offering Neil a zone to stay and then went about supporting him receive on his feet. Now, Neil lives independently with a fixed address and is running for city mayor.Most participants have something inspiring and surprising in their stories. Even John Brisby, who details in 49 Up as a prominent lawyer, has lived his life very much like her predicted when he was a child. When we meet John at age 7, he was apparently reading the Financial Times, was most concerned about schools becoming free, fearing they would become 'terribly crowded.' He had aspirations of attending Cambridge and becoming a lawyer. So in 49 Up it was a touch ironic that he had committed a huge portion of his life to building gratis schools in Bulgaria and working to improve the medical system. His reasoning to appear in 49 Up was to 'raise awareness on a greater platform'.The tearful admission of tough but lovable Lyn Johnson about her loosing war to stabilize funding for her work she does with disabled kids will touch all, and hopefully mobilize the relevant agencies to do something about it. What is also surprising is how media savvy both Lyn and John have become to test the series to further their own causes. On a lighter note, tiny Tony, the knockabout child from the east end who wanted to be a jockey, is actually Tony the owner driver of a cab, grandfather and , has a villa in Spain as well as his home in London. He has done some acting work thanks to the Up series, and his honest and welcoming acc of his last 7 years is a highlight. However, my favourite is still Bruce, for no prolific reason. You'll have a favorite by the end too. 49 Up intended to be a fly on the wall documentary, but you can't support to wonder if their lives are a product of the experiences presented to them, because of the Up documentaries. It is a phenomenal series, and its format has been copied in another countries and it is used as an education aid in VCE psychology classes, yet, after 42 years, they participants are still bewildered by our interest in their 'ordinary' lives. John offers us his insight about our fascination: " It's like watching Large brother except the viewer gets the added premium of watching us all grow old and receive fat."For all the differences in their back grounds, the participants are seem to have a related trait- optimism and resilience, and it is satisfying to watch. Yes the once wide eyed 7 year old are actually plumper, greyer, and more precocious then ever, yet there is a tiny bit of all of them in us, and that is why we will eagerly await 56 Up in 2013.


I have recently watched all of the Up series, finishing with 49 Up this evening. While I have enjoyed the series and been fascinated by the folks involved, I did accept with John somewhat that it's a bit like Large Brother or some another reality series. Upon talking it over with my husband, however, I search that I have misjudged it. The series does have a lasting value that is not show in entertainment based reality TV shows. What does the series teach us? Tolerance and acceptance of our own fallible judgments. We see these folks at 7 and we decide what they will be doing at 21 or 35. Inevitably we're wrong on some necessary level. What this shows us is that we can never truly know someone, especially someone we don't have an intimate family relationship with, because we never receive more than a glimpse into their inner life. At 7 I didn't like Tony. At 21 I didn't like Suzie. The only person I have admired from the beginning is Bruce. Now, at 49, I search them all interesting, individual folks and I have a nice deal of respect for every of them. They have made their lives something to be proud of. They bring value into the lives of their families and communities, but also to those of us who only see a small portion of their lives each 7 years. This isn't reality TV. This is reality- this is life being lived by true people. I hope they will continue to do the program, despite the intrusion. I hope they will understand that they do bring something more into our lives than a couple hours entertainment.


In 1964, English filmmakers including director Michael Apted assembled a group of fourteen British kids from different economic and social backgrounds, all age 7, and made a documentary about them named 7 Up. Each seven years afterward, Apted revisited the same kids and made other documentary about them, chronicling their lives at the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and actually 49. The first installment that I watched, 28 Up, made me fall in love with these films. Much has been told about the series depicting the rigidity of the English class system, but as decades go by, the human element, the nature and personalities of the individuals being profiled, seems to be almost as necessary in affecting how their lives turned out. After seeing 28 Up and 35 Up, I remember feeling very terrible for one child who grew up coping with mental health issues and eventually wound up homeless, and thought leaving the theater that he wouldn't be alive for 42 Up. But by then he had moved to London and involved himself in local politics, a rewarding turn of happenings for him, and for the audience as well. The children from the upper crust backgrounds have predictably had more affluent lives, and turned out to be the least forthcoming and most guarded on camera as adults, and less simple to warm up to. Some children had deep seated feelings of shyness and insecurity that stayed with them as adults, and very publicly evaluating their failures and achievements each few years has been very hard and uncomfortable for them. But even though some seem to resent the filmmakers' intrusion in their lives, they generally seem to understand the larger value of the series and twelve of the original fourteen children continue to participate, even though they have misgivings or regrets about it. It's interesting to watch marriages and relationships suddenly start and end, and usually folks quickly remarry or search other relationship, often to someone more compatible and attractive. I identified most with the kids who grew up to be teachers and academics, highly likable, clever folks who realize that they aren't the most socially or economically successful but in many methods seem to be the most satisfied and fulfilled ones of the bunch. Despite their ambivalence, the participants deserve a large round of applause for letting us grow up and old along with them.



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