7 Plus Seven

Movie Review #905


Released in the UK only on December 15, 1970. Documentary/Biography. This film is not rated. Runs 52 minutes. British production. Director: Michael Apted. No writer credited. Cast: Bruce, Jackie, Symon, Andrew, John, Peter, Suzy, Charles, Nicholas, Neil, Lindsay, Paul, Susan, and Tony.


By Alexander Diminiano

As if it were a Hollywood movie, not an independent documentary, Michael Apted’s “7 Plus Seven” (1970) feels every bit like the sequel to Paul Almond’s “Seven Up!” (1964). And if you’d like any sort of proof that sequels are sometimes better the the original movie, well, here you go.

The seven-year-olds we saw in the first film have grown up. That can mean a lot for some, and very little for the others. Some of them have, now at age 14, met the ambitions they had expressed at the age of seven. Some have failed to meet those ambitions, and yet others have found more suitable ambitions. Some of their social views have changed; others not so much. Yet it’s become even clearer now how greatly different these kids are from one another. If not from their social views, their differences are strongly highlighted by their political views. And even at age 14, they’re still smarter than their age says. Maybe not every single one of them is book-smart, but if there’s one thing “Seven Up!” and the expansive “7 Plus Seven” don’t aim to do, it’s to mistake book-smartness for genuine intelligence. Maybe “7 Plus Seven” really isn’t anything but what’s expected of a film to follow “Seven Up!”. But I was amazed, nevertheless. If you want a thought-provoking movie, rent “Seven Up!”, and if after that you need another one, rent “7 Plus Seven”.