The eight "Up" documentaries have become such a monumental project that it's hard to talk about them as individual films.
The series has checked in with a bunch of Brits every seven years since they were 7 years old. "56 Up" finds its 13 men and women (originally, there were 14, but one no longer participates) all doing pretty well. It features quite a bit of talk about the breakdown of the British class system, something several of these people have experienced firsthand over their 49 years in the "Up" films, and perhaps more talk than necessary about what it feels like to be the focus of these films.
The extent to which their lives have been altered by participating in the films is an interesting subject, but there's so much.
to cover here. "56 Up" not only checks in with everyone but it also offers efficient little summaries of what each participant has been through in the past five decades, and it seems a shame to spend so much time on a subject reality TV has already done to death.
That caveat aside, "56 Up" is well worth seeing. It's astonishingly moving to watch these people change (and stay the same) over the course of eight films, which effectively argue for and against the Jesuit motto that gave the series its impetus: "Give me the child until seven and I will show you the man."
Directed by: Michael Apted
Rated: Not rated, but contains no objectionable material
Should you go? Sure. Although you'd ideally have seen the previous "Up" films, don't worry too much about that. "56 Up" gives you quick looks at the previous films in the series.