"Class Reunion Time Again"
What You Need To Know:
It is interesting to see how these people aged, what careers they chose, who they married and divorced, and what’s happened with their children. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution regarding 49 UP because of a brief scene of nudity, a word or two of bad language, and the prevailing lack of concern about people’s relationship to God. Only one person was shown to have religious beliefs. Everyone else was made to appear that their religious beliefs are inconsequential.
(H, B, L, N, D, M) Overall light humanist worldview in documentary look at the lives of several people in England interviewed at seven year intervals between the age of seven and 49, with one interview touching on belief in God and all the others centered on careers, marriages, children, and grandchildren; two obscenities but some of the interviews are hard to hear at times; no sexual content; one brief scene with nudity when people streak naked with naughty parts blurred and another scene at beach with upper male nudity and upper little girl nudity; several interviewees smoked at different times in their life; and, miscellaneous problems such as children born out of wedlock.
Imagine your kindergarten class reunion being filmed every seven years and being shown to the world in movie theatres. 49 UP is the seventh installment in just such a documentary experiment conducted in England by director Michael Apted. Black and white, 42-year-old interviews with seven-year-old children are interspersed with interviews of the same people at 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, and now 49 years of age. It is interesting to see how these people aged, what careers they chose, who they married and divorced, and what’s happened with their children.
Very interesting is the contrast between the comments and lifestyle of the original children at seven years old, and the appearance of the grandchildren. The original children often appeared in school uniforms including jackets and ties for some. The grandchildren are more likely seen frolicking on the beach.
It was surprising to learn that most of the 49-year-olds are quite content with their lives. Most now have a home. Several even have a vacation home. Most have completed or nearly completed raising their children. Almost all indicate that appearing in this series every seven years is painful.
The movie ends with the narrated comment, “Give me a seven-year-old, and I will show you the man.” To this end, the director had measured success. You could see some traits of the children that remained present in the different age interviews, but some of the people did make considerable changes in their lives.
MOVIEGUIDE® has long stressed the importance of using wisdom in limiting your children’s exposure to media, for the very reason that the formative years can have an impact that carries through a lifetime. Seldom will you see anything that so vividly shows real people at various stages of life than in this series of films. It would be interesting to see a similar study done on children raised in this more intense media age.
MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution regarding 49 UP because of a brief scene of nudity, a word or two of bad language, and the prevailing lack of concern about people’s relationship to God. Only one person was shown to have any religious beliefs. Every one else was made to appear that their religious beliefs are inconsequential.