As you may know, the Up series is a series of eight fascinating documentary films that has tracked the lives of fourteen English schoolchildren since 1964, when they were seven years old. Every seven years, the director Michael Apted releases a new documentary that checks in on their increasingly varied lives (when they’re aged 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49…). The children all came from very different socio-economic backgrounds, and the director, Michael Apted, wanted to see how this would affect their futures.

The documentary films are wildly compelling—you follow these people as they graduate from school, move cities, find jobs, lose jobs, have children, get married, have affairs, dash their dreams, find happiness, lose their way, face whatever life brings. Each episode, you think you know where their lives are headed, but I’ve been shocked, thrilled and devastated to see certain updates. The most recent installment — 56 Up — came out in England this past May, and I’ve been waiting with baited breath for it to reach the United States.

Well, 56 Up is finally released today! (Right now I see showtimes for just New York, but it should be hitting more cities on January 18th.) Film critic Roger Ebert called the films, “Brilliant! The ‘Up’ series is on my list of the 10 greatest films of all time.” He also wrote a great overview here.

Will you see it? I highly, highly recommend the series.

P.S. 19 more fantastic documentaries