...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

July 04, 2006

The Up Series: 21 Up - 6

This is the third film in Michael Apted's experiment, his participants are not 21, some are about to finish up college, others have found various jobs. The film starts with gathering all 14 of the participants and having them watch themselves in the first two films. This episode is very interesting because they are now much more reflective about what the project is and what their futures will be like (this episode is also longer, a little over an hour and a half). Two of the women have married, while the rest are still trying to figure out singleness, and many of them have experienced their parents divorce since 7 Plus Seven, which makes them skeptical of marriage and relationships. In this episode you are beginning to see the breakdown of the original point of the study, most of these people have changed quite a lot and become much more subdued than they were as 7-year-olds. Although the boy who wanted to become a jockey got his chance and just wasn't good enough to make it a career. Another anomaly (from the perspective of the experiment) is that the boy from the rural town made it into Oxford to study physics. The boys that went to the expensive prep school are indeed studying law and literature, like their parents envisioned when they were young. The girl from the wealthy family travels Europe and has no idea what she is going to do. The two orphaned boys are doing ok but have a somewhat rough life because of limited choices they have had. I think the social science of this series doesn't exactly tell the audience anything, but the series is interesting to see, and one can reflect on their own life at these stages, maybe even recognizing their own privilege or disadvantages that they had. One thing that would have been helpful is for their names to appear on screen so that one could follow the story along a bit better.

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