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Australia 1996
Directed by
Gillian Armstrong
86 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Not Fourteen Again

Using Michael Apted's 7 Up series as a model, Gillian Armstrong’s Not Fourteen Again gives us a fascinating portrait of a trio of working class Adelaide girls whom she first filmed in 1977 when they were 14 year-old scrubbers in her first directorial role, a documentary, commissioned by the South Australian Film Corporation, Smokes and Lollies.

Unlike Apted's series, the initial film was only ever meant as a stand-alone project but Armstrong fortunately decided to follow the Apted model. This film, which the opening titles indicate is also the final instalment, combines material from the previous three films and current interviews with the now-33 year old women. It is indeed fascinating to see how the girls have developed, each one with little education or opportunity but evidencing the strong human impulse to self-improvement. It is a bonus to see how this tendency has borne fruit in their own now grown-up daughters, although perhaps Armstrong, for want of stronger material gives too much of the running time to the latter.




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