Director: Michael Apted
Year Released: 1998
Hate to sound like a complete crab, but I guess my mere tolerance (as opposed to love) for this picture is because I didn't see the first Apted film, 7 Up, from may years ago, when he started the whole idea to take British students at the age of 7, speak to them about their dreams, their fears, and then return every seven years to see what they've gotten up to, how they're progressing/struggling. Had I seen them all evolve, over the years, gradually, this would be of bona fide interest, me wanting to see whether or not, say, the people who got out of Oxford have successful jobs, whether a lot of them married, had kids, whether they ever attained their childhood goals or were forced to compromise. Some are obviously more interesting than others because their stories are more complex, and their dreams, ranging from the plausible to the not-exactly-so, are either fulfilled or ignored (the one man never did become a jockey, after all, becoming a cab driver instead). I found particular interest for the schizophrenic man, who mercifully found a friend in another participant in the series (a school teacher), and for the time being, redemption (Apted wisely puts him in there last, as he was the most troubled of all the prospects). Tiring, to a degree, and also a little brief - you'd wish less time was devoted to some and more to others - but is still worthwhile as an experiment on documenting life. Bah, humbug.