Seven Up!


Seven Up! Review

In 1964, Michael Apted had a genius idea: Find 20 kids, all age seven, living in Britain. Find out what they think about, what makes them different, and where they think they're headed. The key will be to check in with them every seven years, forming the world's only filmed living document of how people change over long periods of time.

The 40-minute Seven Up! introduces the kids briefly, then promptly ends. The films that would follow: 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, and finally 42 Up, duly check in with our kids to see where they've gotten to in life. (All six films are now available on a box set DVD edition.) But the problem with the Up series is that nothing changes in the lives of these kids year after year. They get older, and as expected their dreams of being movie stars and astronauts fade into more recognizable realities. And maybe this is part of the momentum of the British class system -- but no one dramatically leaps out of poverty, and no wealthy children ever fall from lofty heights. (Perhaps this series would have been more interesting if made in a more socially fluid country?)

As such, the lessons of the Up series -- and the films get longer and longer with each installment -- are few. As I've said in individual reviews of the later films, the poor stay poor, the rich get rich. Apted proves it handily, but his message is repetitive to a fault. Over the course of 500-some minutes of footage, few surprises await. And in fact, you only need to see the most recent of the movies if you want the full experience of the series, since Apted recaps everything that's come to pass before.

Social navel-gazers will find some of this interesting, but most of the films just don't truly offer the meat they claim to contain. Either that, or I'm just really jaded.

Aka 7 Up.

Seven Up!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 39 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 5th May 1964

Reviews 3 / 5

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew