Director Michael Apted revisits the same group of British-born adults after a 7 year wait. The subjects are interviewed as to the changes that have occurred in their lives during the last ... See full summary »

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Director Michael Apted revisits the same group of British-born adults after a 7 year wait. The subjects are interviewed as to the changes that have occurred in their lives during the last seven years. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

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February 1986 (USA)  »

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28 лет  »

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Trivia

Charles Furneaux refused to appear in the documentary and, as of 2012, has not appeared in any more installments of the "Up" series. Ironically, Furneaux became a documentary filmmaker. See more »

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Featured in 49 Up (2005) See more »

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What Would I Do
Written by Stanley Alexander
Performed by The Monotones
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An ingenious way of observing the journey of life.
15 June 2002 | by (los angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

28 Up is the fourth installment of a series of British documentaries concerning fourteen British people. They were first interviewed when they were seven, and every seven years, the filmmakers track them down to find out how their lives has progressed. Michael Apted started directed the series on 14 Up and will continue to do so every seven years until his subjects are all dead or refuses to be interviewed. The concept is extremely original; it is very captivating and often fascinating because these are real people, and most of them are engaging characters with something good and interesting to say.

At seven years old, they were asked about their dreams and ambitions. Majority of them are very eloquent at seven and manages to give straight answers. At fourteen, their goals in life are pretty much set, and they were asked what college they want to go to and if they still have the same ambitions. At twenty-one, we begin to see which ones are fulfilling their dreams and which ones are struggling. One can know these without watching the first three installments because excerpts are intercut along with the twenty-eight interviews. This creates a very pleasing effect because we can see how they changed and also spot the shifts of emotional states. A woman named Suzy was obviously in an ill state at twenty-one because she is chain-smoking and does not seem happy; at twenty-eight, she is now settled down with a husband and a good family.

One of the most interesting characters in the documentary is Neil, an outcast who constantly moves to find a job. He is currently living in a small trailer beside a Scottish lake without a job and without friends. He provides us with the most compelling and touching moments of the whole movie. From footage of the previous documentaries, we can see how Neil has changed. At seven, he appears smart and clear about what his dreams are. At twenty-one, we see him as a dissatisfied and angry man, blaming his parents for his misfortunes. Now at twenty-eight, he openly apologizes to his parents and admits that he was wrong. The images they captured are somewhat haunting; we see Neil alone in his trailer and beside the lake, obviously not in a contented state.

It's amazing to see how much the twenty-eight year old person is reflected in the seven-year-old one. In one of the interviews, a boy shows intelligence at seven and wants to do scientific things; we are not surprised that he is now teaching college-level physics in America. Another boy claims that he wants to be a jockey, and although he did try it for a while, it's not unlikely that he now works as a taxicab driver.

A small drawback in the documentary is it gets monotonous at some points. Although most of their comments are interesting, some of them are just repeating what the others said. Apted asks almost the same questions, and because most of them have settled down and started a family, their answers are relatively similar. At 138 minutes, it appears a little stretched and could have benefited from a better pacing. With the few exceptions of persons like Neil, who have a unique story, the others had the same path and are now satisfied with their lives.

Apted, who is more known for motion picture credits like Coal Miner's Daughter and more recently, The World is Not Enough and Enough, makes a wonderful transition in employing his talents to documentaries. This project could have been a disaster because they could have chosen boring people as subjects, but Apted manages to draw out compelling statements and fascinating developments. The editor does a great job in inserting the excerpts from previous episodes and matching them with the new comments. I'm looking forward to watching 35 Up and find out how long this series could endure. I have never seen anything like this before, and I give the creators credit for coming up with an ingenious way of observing the journey of life.


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