I was watching 42 and Up on Netflix. It follows the life of several British children with interviews every 7 years from the age of 7 (14, 21, 28, 35, and 42).
This documentary is definitely not for everyone, but it fascinated me. You see how the children had such hope at 7, but by the years of 14 and 21 they are dark, confused, and sometimes cynical. By the time they are 28, they have have “found” themselves and don’t think they will deviate much from these ages. But 35 and 42 often show that is indeed not the case. Even when we think not much will change, life has some surprises. And how often the plans we do have change.
- Tony – as a child he wanted to be a jockey. Now, he is married, admitting unfaithful. At 42, he feel he has “gone as far as he can in life; anything else is a bonus.”
- Suzy – Born into a privileged society, she is sent to a boarding school and at 14 feels she was abandoned. At 21 she is cynical, doesn’t want to be She didn’t want to be married or have kids at 21. At 28, she was married with 3 kids.
- Symon – born an illegitimate child of a white mother and unknown black father, he struggles with this situation well into his 20’s. As a kid, he wants to be a film star, and later an electrical engineer. At 21 he is working in a freezer warehouse. At 28, he was married with 5 kids. By 35, he is divorced. At 42, he is remarried with another child named Daniel after his father. He now works in an office.
- Bruce – At 7 he is already discussing his ambition of teaching immigrants in India. At 14 he is outspoken about education and poverty. At 21 he is studying at Oxford studying math. At 28 he is teaching immigrant children, thinking about starting a family. At 35, he is teaching in Bangladesh and single. At 42 he is back in London teaching at an all girls school, just married, and in “middle-age content”. “When you have a partnership, that definitely makes you more mature because you aren’t always thinking about yourself.”
8 out of 10 stars.