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  • 1999
  • 2 HR 19 MIN
  • NR
  • Documentary

If you've been keeping up with director Michael Apted's monumental documentary series, you might surprised to learn that those 14 seven-year-old English schoolchildren Apted first interviewed for British TV back in 1963 are now all forty-two-years old. Even more surprising is that Apted's initial premise, based on an old Jesuit maxim, still holds: "Give...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If you've been keeping up with director Michael Apted's monumental documentary series, you might surprised to learn that those 14 seven-year-old English schoolchildren Apted first interviewed for British TV back in 1963 are now all forty-two-years old. Even more

surprising is that Apted's initial premise, based on an old Jesuit maxim, still holds: "Give me the child at seven and I will show you the man." Apted had a suspicion that the social class in which we live as children determines the adults we become. The remainder of our lives, then, may be the

inevitable fulfillment of a foregone conclusion; things we say about ourselves and our plans for the future at the age of seven can prove uncannily prescient or, in retrospect, profoundly ironic. Every seven years, Apted takes a break from his highly successful career as a director (his most

recent feature is the latest James Bond flick THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH) to re-interview his subjects. In this installment, the onset of middle age finds most of them settling into their lives. Working-class Eastender Tony, who once dreamed of becoming a jockey, continues to drive a cab, and is now

faced with the daunting prospect of financing a completely renovated house. Upper-class Bruce, who once planned on becoming a missionary, teaches minority students at a Catholic high school for girls. For most — with the exception of Neil, who took a disturbing turn for the worse when he

became a homeless drifter, and Jackie, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and barely subsists above the poverty level — much of the drama is over. Life now is now more about loss (parents, health, husbands and hair); changes that effect everyone, regardless of social background. Where this

still vital series was once about what sets us apart, it now seems to be turning towards the things that, in the end, render us all equal.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: If you've been keeping up with director Michael Apted's monumental documentary series, you might surprised to learn that those 14 seven-year-old English schoolchildren Apted first interviewed for British TV back in 1963 are now all forty-two-years old. Eve… (more)

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