Seven Up! and 7 + Seven

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Seven Up! and 7 + Seven  (A). I have wanted to see these films for a long time, and The Borg Queen’s subscription to Netflix was my ticket. In 1964, some British film people assembled 14 seven-year-old children from various social classes and interviewed them. They interviewed some individually, and some in small groups. Since then, a researcher on the first installment (Seven Up!) named Michael Apted has revisited those same 14 people every seven years and filmed the results. (I didn’t realize Apted is a successful commercial director too, having helmed movies such as Gorillas in the Mist and The World Is Not Enough.)

So I watched and thoroughly enjoyed these first two installments. The kids are very cute and genuine in the first film, but by the second one some of them have become a little guarded. A girl from the top of the upper-crust, in particular, seems to be deciding already that her participation in the project was a bad decision. A boy who was living in a group home for poor children in the first installment seems a sad and downtrodden 14-year-old. Three upper-class boys who are largely indistinguishable in the first movie are developing distinct personalities in the second one. And so on. I’m looking forward to watching the later installments to see which of the kids refuse to participate further and which of them challenge the filmmakers’ apparent belief that socio-economic class is destiny.

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3 comments on “Seven Up! and 7 + Seven

  1. […] 56 Up  (A-).  I’ve already written about this series of British documentaries on this blog several times.  Basically, in 1963 or 1964, somebody gathered up a bunch of seven-year-olds from different social strata and interviewed them singly or in small groups.  Every seven years since then, director Michael Apted has gone back and interviewed them again to see what has happened to them in life.  Some stopped participating along the way, but many have continued to participate.  Now they are 56 years old, and they are seeming more philosophical than ever as they deal with illnesses and deaths of loved ones, but even more so the growing-up of their own children and the arrival, in many cases of grandchildren.  The fellow who has struggled with mental illness still has his struggles, but he seems to be doing reasonably well living in a small village where he is active both in politics and in the church.  The kids from privileged backgrounds all seem to be doing quite well, but happily even the ones from the lower rungs of the social ladder (including the two boys who lived in a state-run home for a while) generally seem to be doing okay.  I think I was getting a little bored with the series, but I really enjoyed this entry.  See if you can find it on Netflix or something, and check it out.  (You can see my previous reviews in the series here:  49 Up, 42 Up, 35 Up, 28 Up, 21 Up, 7+Seven, and 7 Up.) […]

  2. […] and I continued to watch this series of British documentaries that started in the early 1960s with 7 Up. This 1998 installment checks in with the folks from all walks of British life at age 42 — my […]

  3. […] social classes from their childhoods until now, when they are 56 years old.  Find the first one, 7 Up!, and watch them all.  You’ll thank me.  I saw a couple of other good ones in 2013 as well.  […]

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