Monday, September 9, 2013

#1,120. 7 Plus Seven (1970)

Directed By: Michael Apted

Starring: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield

Trivia: This made-for-TV movie was first broadcast on Dec. 15, 1970 in the UK

7 Plus Seven is the sequel to Seven Up, the 1964 made-for-TV movie in which filmmakers brought a handful of British school children together, all seven years old, to get their views on certain aspects of life. Sitting down with them once again at the age of 14, director Michael Apted sought to determine how much the previous seven years had influenced their opinion of the world around them.

All fourteen kids from Seven Up are back for this second installment, some going so far as to “correct” what they said in the original film. Andrew, for instance, who, along with his schoolmates Charles and John, talked about everything from stocks and bonds to The Beatles in Seven Up, had said in 1964 that, when he was old enough, he was going apply to “Trinity Hall”, when what he meant to say was “Trinity College” (a slight error, but apparently his father was none too pleased about it). A few of the kids who discussed their dreams and ambitions in Seven Up were well on their way to fulfilling them in 7 Plus Seven; Tony had expressed interest in becoming a professional jockey, and was now taking riding lessons. Others have changed not only their goals in life, but their addresses as well. In the 7 years since the original movie was first broadcast, Paul, who had been living in a London children’s home, moved to Australia, while Suzy made her way north to her father’s estate in Scotland. But for most of the kids, the years haven’t changed them all that much. Nicholas, who in Seven Up refused to answer a question about whether or not he had a girlfriend, still doesn’t have much to say on the matter.

As anyone can tell you, 14 is a very awkward age. Many of these kids, who were so outgoing in Seven Up, are much quieter, less self-confident in 7 Plus Seven, which leads to a few uncomfortable moments (when discussing his absentee father, Simon tries to blow it off, but the topic obviously makes him a little sad). Yet this doesn’t weaken the film’s impact in the least. A fascinating character study, 7 Plus Seven proves just as interesting, just as revealing, and just as vital as its predecessor.

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