42UP - rated - HOT! HOT! HOT!

Nothing, but nothing is more interesting than real lives!

42 Up is the 6th film in a series of films by Michael Apted. The films examine the lives of a group of English kids who were born in 1956. In 1963 Apted made a film about these kids when they were 7 years old, quoting the old Jesuit saying: "Give me a child until he is 7, and I will give you the man". His theory was that these kids would give us a preview of the adults of the year 2000. Amazingly, the theory holds up pretty well.

I've seen all the films in the series so far , from 7 Up to 35 Up, and now 42 Up. And it is amazing how good it is each time to catch up with this group at 7 year intervals, and see how the years treat them. It's a marvellous idea, and it has been wonderfully executed by Apted. This cannot have been an easy thing to do, given the delicate subject-matter: the lives of real children growing into real adults.

But Apted pulls it off each time. Each film is both sensitive and compelling, and 42 Up is no exception. In fact, it is getting to the stage now where we can begin to draw some reasonable conclusions from our observations.

For example: wasn't it wonderful to see how well the librarian had got on, and how courageous and strong the women (mostly) seemed? Who would have thought that Sue would have had all those babies more-or-less on her own? On the other hand, I had to laugh at the solicitor, who I'm sure was lying through his teeth when he spoke about how much he enjoyed his work. I could tell he was completely stressed out and only just coping. And then there is Paul, the Barnardo's Boy, who still has not managed to build up much self-confidence, despite the strong support of his burly Aussie wife.

Seeing where these people have ended up at 42 made me reflect on these issues, among others:

- how low goals of the women were when they weere young, and how they've had to readjust their aims as the possibilities for women have expanded

- how it is possible to look better as you get older!

- how critically important it is to be a part of a family and have stability in your relationships: if you come from a broken home you're already behind the 8-ball

- how limited your horizons are if you are poor in England: no matter how strong your ambitions are, the odds are you won't get as far ahead as the well-off

- how utterly vital is a good education and it can give you, among other things, self-confidence

- what a marvellous thing self-confidence is. But if you don't have confidencein yourself, it is just possible that, if you're a man, a good woman might save you from yourself and give you some drive and ambition; and

- how the people you live with know you better than you know yourself.