In 1963 the BBC filmed a set of 7-year school children and asked them what they thought their future would be. Because some of the kids were rich and some were poor, their aspirations revealed the traditional British class divide. But every 7 years since, the director has gone back and re-interviewed them, and their story has gotten far more interesting. The twists and turns of each life have been surprisingly unpredictable. With its longitudinal reach of 50 years (!), this is one of the coolest and deepest reality shows ever made. Now the kids are 49. In their latest episode the director tries to balance an inherent tension. The film can’t assume anyone has seen the earlier versions (see my review here), and so it must recap the previous films, but now that the subjects’ lives are so long, a recap won’t leave much time for the new years. 49Up tackles this dilemma by re-interpreting each life in view of their latest 7 years, and so if you have been following along, it feels completely fresh. If you have not been part of the journey so far, this quick life-long portrait will pull you in, and you may want to see the earlier films. If you have been watching, these will be old friends. The subjects are now into their 50s and I found myself dying to know what happens next – in 56 Up.
Directed by Michael Apted
2005, 134 min.
Read more about the film at Wikipedia
Rent from Netflix
Available from Amazon