42 Up

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Michael Apted
First Run Features; NR; 130 minutes

42 Up began 35 years ago, when British director Michael Apted released his landmark documentary 7 Up. In it he interviewed a cross-section of British society, all 7 year olds. Every seven years since then Apted has returned to the original group in this unusually powerful documentary series. At 42, the kids are now adults fully settled into their lives, and much of the strength of this installment derives from the extent to which these folks have attained their childhood dreams, teen ambitions, and twentysomething plans. Passions have cooled, goals have been attained, wishes have been discarded.

Apted is a nuanced filmmaker, allowing the confines of class and other barriers in British society to present themselves without editing or self-censorship. (Contrast this with his other work, The World Is Not Enough.) Although today's Britain is more diverse than the original group, 42 Up remains a fascinating look at a society in flux, reflected through the lives of a dozen of its participants.

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