35 Up - Movie - VHS
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In 1963, director Michael Apted and then-partner Paul Almond chronicled the lives of 14 seven-year-olds for British television; they returned to the same group at intervals of seven years for updates, of which this is the fifth. It's possible to watch this film without having seen the other chapters (28 Up and 42 Up are the only other installments in circulation), because Apted offers thumbnail flashbacks with each interview. Several of the original subjects declined to be filmed for 35 Up (the film acknowledges them with reference to their most recent appearance in the series), and several others express ambivalence about participating. Two trios of friends from the original film -- John, Andrew, and Charles, and Jackie, Lynn, and Sue -- are interviewed collectively; the women seem to be still close, but it's not clear if the men are. Most of the subjects are married and raising children (and most have moved from London to the suburbs or the country); there are a few divorces, and one woman has chosen to be a single parent. The film saves its most fascinating figure, Neil, for last. In 28 Up, he was a university dropout, living a nomadic existence on the coast of Scotland. In the present film, he has moved to the Shetland Islands, where he's involved in local theater and taking medications for his psychological illness. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi