Alice King
November 24, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

42 Up

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
134 minutes
director
Michael Apted
distributor
First Run Features
genre
Drama, Documentary

We gave it an A

In 42 Up, the latest installment of this extraordinary docu-series, the subjects — 14 British men and women whom director Michael Apted has revisited every seven years since they were schoolchildren — head into middle age. Intended as an exploration of how England’s entrenched class structure predetermines adult success, the film’s fascination comes more from its time-lapse vision of the subjects’ lives. The privileged children (hilariously snobby as 7-year-olds, archly cynical as teens) are now well-off adults, while the poor ones (including two from a Dickensian orphanage) still struggle to make ends meet. Apted sees beyond the sociological premise to the individuals, achieving a rare poignance by presenting their sheer ordinariness. Not so ordinary is Neil, last seen as a jittery social misfit in 35 Up, whose newfound stability at 42 makes for one of the film’s truly gratifying moments. A

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