63 Up is the most recent installment in The Up Series, and with the death of director and interviewer Michael Apted on January 7, 2021, it may also be the last. I do hope someone takes up the baton and makes a 70 Up, as it seems like a good age to bring the experiment to a conclusion and reflect on the entire process.
Granted, the specter of death hovers over 63 Up. Lynn, the beloved children’s librarian who fought so hard for the kids became the first participant to die a few years before the film’s released. In this film we also learn that Nick, the physics professor, has throat cancer and is not doing well (as of this writing, Nick appears to still be alive).
Despite the inevitable age and decay, I don’t find 63 Up to be depressing. All of the participants have accomplished so much in their own ways and have found joy in something. I think Sue puts it best that being in the films is a lifelong achievement. “The things we go through are what everyone are going through.”
I neglected to note this in my review of 56 Up, but it appears that the archival footage was restored and looks so much sharper and clearer than it does in the earlier films. This was the first movie made after Brexit, but oddly Apted only asks some of the participants about it. All the participants who talk about the issue have had it with the Conservative Party. Another reason 70 Up would be great would be to hear their thoughts on the revolving door of Prime Ministers.Tony and Debbie sold their Spanish vacation house as their income has taken a hit in the war with rideshare companies. They’ve settled in a community of elderly East Enders in Essex and dote on their 6 grandkids. Tony voted leave but has reconsidered it to the point where he will no longer vote Tory. They talk about how Michael thought he’d be a criminal at 21.Andrew is getting ready to retire. His kids are grown up and he’s taken up Japanese gardeningSue is still engaged to Glenn, but Glenn loves motorbikes! She is still working at University of London and singing and acting in her free time. She’s worried about the social safety net collapsing.Nick has throat cancer and seems very tired. He mourns his father’s death but has trouble expressing it. He expresses a lack of faith in the wealthy upper class continuing to have the right to rule, talking about both Donald Trump and Theresa May.Bruce is working part time at Penny’s school and close to retirement. His sons are almost grown up. We see him visit New York City with his family and returning to the East End school he taught at in his 20s.Jackie says her three boys are doing well, although still dealing with the death of their father Ian. They have not found closure from the guilty verdict for the woman who ran over Ian. They revisit how angry she was by Michael treating women differently, but is surprised that viewers thinks she hates Michael. “I told him off, I didn’t kill him!”Peter is still in a band, working 2 days a week, and writing a novel. He was against Brexit. He’s worried about next generation being the first to not have a better life than their parents.There’s a full segment of archival interviews with Lynn before they reveal that she died. I found this a bit cruel because it’s kind of playing it for shock value. Her husband and daughters speak in her memory and their is a ceremony dedicating a school library to Lynn.Paul and Symon are profiled together, with Symon and Vienetta visiting Australia for the first time. They have a lot in common personality-wise in their shyness, lack of confidence, and not realizing their talents. They talk together about how the children’s home and their seperation from their parents affected them.John hasn’t changed much, still working in law, active with Friends of Bulgaria, and disappointed that he never got into politics. He voted remain, perhaps surprisingly, but he never thought he fit the stereotype of the “archetypical” Tory squire. He’s also proud of the advances made by Bulgaria as a member of the EU.Suzy did not take part in this film but there is a short collection of clips from earlier interviews.Neil is still active in politics and was opposed to Brexit. He continues to be a lay preacher and is active in his Christian faith. He’s still struggling with his relationship with his parents after their deaths and dealing with mental health issues. He married since 56 Up, but he and his wife have separated.Still struggling with mental health. He has a second home in France.
Title: 63 Up
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Director: Michael Apted
Production Company: Albert+ Sustainable production | ITV Studios | Shiver
It’s December 2019, and I’m thrilled to see the 9th installment in a legendary movie saga on the big screen! No, not Star Wars, that’s next week. This is the Up Series, a documentary focusing on the lives of a group of British individuals starting with the a tv special produced by Granada Television for ITV in 1964 called Seven Up! The premise of the series is based on the Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man,” and the original filmmakers thought that the rigid class structure of England would show that the futures of these children would be locked in at 7-years-old.
Director Michael Apted has interviewed the participants every year since…
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