Home  >  Movies & TV  >  Movie Reviews

Movie & TV Reviews

Movie review: '56 Up'

Posted 3:24pm on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Unrated (brief strong language); 143 min.


Like an old friend whose mere memory brings tears, the greatest cinematic experiment in sociology and psychology ever attempted returns to theaters with 56 Up. Every seven years, a new installment of the "Up" series reminds us of our mortality even as we see the years pass for the British subjects of these films.

The world met them in 1964 in Seven Up!, 14 children representing what was then a pretty broad sample of British society -- poor East End tykes, orphans, a child of mixed race, a country boy and the posh-accented scion of landed gentry and the professional classes.

Every seven years we see how Jackie and Lynn, Tony, Suzy, Symon, Neil and the others have changed -- how the attitudes and personalities they expressed as talkative 7-year-olds have manifested themselves in adult life.

The psychology of the piece comes from the candid nature of the questions, then and now. Kids, then adults, talk about their concept of love, happiness, success, their worries, fears and hopes. The sociology comes from the way Britain has changed over their lives -- a vast influx of immigrants that prompts Tony, the taxi driver, to make intemperate remarks. Interviewer-director Michael Apted wonders if he's racist. But he lets Tony explain himself -- the hardship of economic competition from that influx.

Apted, involved with the series from the start, went on to make Coal Miner's Daughter, a Bond film, action pictures -- a pretty solid career in the movies. But this is what he will be remembered for, prying, interrogating and charming these kids-turned-adults every seven years, patiently pulling together confessional interviews that paint wonderful portraits of people through the long course of their lives. He forces them, and us, to take stock every seven years. Not a bad idea for anybody.

Exclusive: Landmark Magnolia, Dallas

-- Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me




We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.