49 Up (2005)

Mitchell, 11. March 2007, 3:26

49 Up
Directed by Michael Apted

It was going to be tough to beat 42 up, which I think to be the best of the series so far, and the latest installment in Apted’s series doesn’t quite do it.

This is that series where the director interviewed fourteen seven-year-old children from the UK’s upper and lower classes, back in 1963, and then revisted and reinterviewed them every seven years after.

There are a few surprises here, and of course there’s the compelling story of Neal, which Apted again saves for last. Neal again is the most fascinating of the lot, but I found something interesting and touching in just about every story.

The theme of family seems to thread itself through this episode, which is a nice thing; many of the subjects have buried parents in the past seven years, and many are grandparents. Another interesting commonality is that many of the 49-year-olds talk about what it’s been like to have Apted drop in on them every seven years.

Not as good as the last one, but still a wonderful movie, and as Roger Ebert says, “The most noble use of film ever.” Don’t know if I’d go that far, but it is a fascinating film.

8 out of 10.

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