Educating Rita

1983

Comedy  Drama  

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Michael Caine as n Dr. Frank Bryantnn
Julie Walters as n Ritann
Maureen Lipman as n Trishnn
720p 1080p
BluRay
n 1280*714 n
n English n
n NR n
n 25 fps n
n 1hr 50 min n
P/S 41 / 90
BluRay
n 1920*1072 n
n English n
n NR n
n 25 fps n
n 1hr 50 min n
P/S 59 / 140

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by n/a 9 / 10

singing a better song

What a novel concept - a college movie that isn't about frat parties! Since "Educating Rita" is one of the only movies which explores the true value of schooling, it remains close to this nerd's heart. In fact, in a rather weird conjunction with "Rocky," it inspired me to leave my lousy office job and get a graduate degree - to better meself, as Rita might say.What are the criticisms here - too long, too stagey, silly synth music? This is not my idea of a slow movie. I like the characters enough to stick with them, even if they aren't...well...moving around much! Surely their personal conflicts are interesting enough to keep me watching, even in the absence of car chases and explosions.Walters and Caine are likable, the message is empowering (but realistic - Rita really suffers when she tries to change her life), and, just for a change, alcoholism is treated as a serious problem. Is it too sentimental? Well, I always cry. Or at least sniffle. I think that means the movie is moving, rather than sentimental.Enough defensiveness - this movie is lovely! Where's the American DVD release, then?

Reviewed by n/a 9 / 10

An Excellent Character Study

"Educating Rita", directed by Lewis Gilbert, is an overlooked gem of a film. I first saw this film in 1984, a year after it's release, and since have championed it as one of the best romances ever made.Based on a London stage play, "Educating Rita" is the story of a twenty seven year old middle class London hairdresser/housewife (Julie Walters, in an excellent performance) who, before having children, would like very much to learn about herself. Much to the annoyance of her husband, she enrolls in an "open university" literature course to begin her journey (open university is the British term for college night courses). Assigned as her tutor is Frank (Michael Caine, in one of his best roles), an older literature professor who suffers from low self esteem and has his own relationship problems.Had this film been made in the machine that is Hollywood, USA, Rita and Frank would have slept together within two scenes of meeting each other (and it would have been graphic, of course), then realized they were in love, followed by the inevitable obstacle to their relationship (probably a misunderstanding or rival for affections), finally ending up with them overcoming all. Every character and plot point would have been telegraphed well in advance. "Educating Rita" does none of this. There are no graphic sex scenes (or any sex scenes for that matter), no grand pronouncements of love, no cliche cliffhangers or deaths in icy seas. Instead, the story portrays Rita and Frank in a very realistic, human manner. As the story unfolds, we watch as they grow as individuals which causes their friendship to become richer. There are turns to the plot which are unexpected. I will not divulge what the end result is, as it is very unconventional and is sure to bring a lump to the throat of any romantic.In all, "Educating Rita" is a very overlooked excellent character study framed by a wonderful story. When in the mood to watch a romantic film or two, forget "Titanic" and rent "Educating Rita" and "An Officer and a Gentleman".

Reviewed by n/a 9 / 10

A superb and deeply touching movie

People who have experienced the mid-life crisis will be at home with this movie, as 26 year old hairdresser, Rita (Julie Walters), is pressurised into settling down with boyfriend Denny. Not only is this an un-needed pressure, but her father is plaguing her about when she is going to have children, but all Rita wants to do is find herself and take up something new. Her common touch and wonderful idiosyncrasies bring a breath of fresh air to snotty high class life, but when she goes to Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) to not only improve her lexicon, but to improve her image she begins a journey of blood and tears. Frank is assigned to tutor her, and from the start their personalities resonate the human touch. Dr. Frank Bryant's marriage has gone down the pan, and his current girlfriend is playing away. On top of this he has hit the bottle and can only get through the day of teaching the young toffs, with a blend of his lecturing skills and the drink. He is jaded, he is tired of the same lecture routines, and he cannot understand why these students want to discuss the finer points of Blake. But Rita is new and fresh, initially Rita doesn't possess the skills required to write analytical essays; but she is different, she is vibrant, she is funny and she is unbelievably up front. As their relationship blossoms and Rita starts to find herself, she becomes increasingly drawn to the student way of life, and when Franks life is enriched because of her presence and her willingness to learn he sends her to a summer camp, to be educated at a greater level. However, Rita's return with a change of character surprises Frank, and soon they drift away from their zany, affectionate meetings. Educating Rita is funny, expressive, sentimental, poignant and sad, as Frank must come to terms with the young bird fleeing the nest, whilst Rita begins to realize what she is becoming. With one thing gained, many other things are lost, and with Frank's increasing drinking problem because of Rita's character change, the two are headed for disaster. Both Caine and Walters give amazingly touching performances, and throughout I felt myself urging them to each other, only to know deep down that the age gap is just too much. Not many films make the audience care enough about relationships and circumstances, but this brilliant movie not only gets the audience committed to their plight, but also feels the full range of emotions.When Rita gives her own interpretation of what assonance is, Bryant finds himself chuckling away to himself and realising that she is indeed right. What is especially touching is the way that Bryant wants Rita to stay as she is, because life has so little characters left for him. What she wants to become is everything that Bryant wants to forget, and there begins a sentimental tug of war. In between the funny moments, and plot directions is the feeling that life has more to offer than just being able to talk fluently about past authors, something which Bryant is driven to distraction over. But the movie nevertheless doesn't miss a moment to entertain and take the characters to our hearts, ensuring that Educating Rita remains a film classic.

Reviewed by n/a 9 / 10

To Sing a Better Song

Rita White, a young Liverpool hairdresser, enrols on an Open University course to study literature. (This is a scheme in Britain whereby adults can study for a degree at home). In Willie Russell's original stage play, there were only two characters, Rita and her tutor Frank Bryant. The screenplay (also written by Russell) opens up the action to bring in other characters, but Rita and Frank are still very much at the centre. They are very different. She is intelligent with a sharp wit, but with little formal schooling, whereas he is a highly qualified middle-class academic. She has not enrolled in higher education in her mid-twenties to earn more money or to get a better job, but rather because she believes in education for its own sake. She wants to study literature as a means of self-realisation and as a way of getting a wider perspective on the world. As she puts it, she "wants to sing a better song". In doing so, however, she comes into conflict with her working-class family, who have no sympathy with her intellectual aspirations, and her cheerfully Philistine husband Denny, whose only desire is to start raising a family. The irony of the film is that Frank possesses what Rita most earnestly desires- learning and culture- but does not appreciate it. In his youth, when he was a published poet, he doubtless shared her ideals, but now in middle age he is a bored, cynical alcoholic. He gave up writing poetry after the breakdown of his marriage and his relationship with his girlfriend Julia is also collapsing. (She is having an affair with one of his colleagues). He turns up drunk to lectures and mocks his students and the university authorities. Although he still earns a living from teaching literature, he has lost his enthusiasm for the subject. Despite their differences, Rita and Frank become friends, probably because he retains just enough idealism to be touched by her naive enthusiasm. This comes across in the scene where she rushes to tell him of her excitement at seeing a production of "Macbeth" or the one where he introduces her to Blake. Initially Rita has more enthusiasm for the subject than understanding, but she makes good progress, and is eventually able to discuss literature on equal terms with Frank's college students. She becomes a waitress, which gives her more time to study. Her appearance changes; originally a bleached blonde in mini-skirt and high heels she returns to her natural brunette looks and dresses more conservatively. She reverts to her real name, Susan, abandoning "Rita" which she adopted in honour of the writer Rita Mae Brown. Frank, however, is not happy with the change in her personality. He has become disillusioned with the idea that culture is desirable, and dislikes the way in which the naive but spontaneous and amusing Rita has given way to the more analytical, intellectually aware Susan, whom he sees as pretentious. (He insists on calling her "Rita" even after she has ceased using the name). He accuses himself of being a Frankenstein who has created a monster, and her of singing not a better song, merely a different one which on her lips sounds shrill, hollow and tuneless. This, of course, causes difficulties between them. Susan's success has been achieved at considerable personal cost because her marriage to Denny has collapsed- he burnt her course-books in a fit of rage after discovering that she was taking the Pill in order to delay having children- and she has become estranged from her family, who sided with Denny over the divorce. If this had been a Hollywood production, it would doubtless have been made as a traditional rom-com, with a happy ending as Frank and Susan fall in love. What we actually have is a film of ideas, with a much more ambiguous ending. The central question is "What is the value of culture and education?" Should one value these things, or question their value as Frank does? Although some reviewers have sympathised with Frank, my sympathies are with Susan; his belittling of her aspirations seems patronising, and there is some justice in her accusations that he liked her better in the early days of their relationship because he was amused by her ignorance and naivety. His apparent disillusionment with his own achievements may reflect not humility but rather a deeper arrogance- the arrogance of the man who mistakes his own cynical nihilism for a higher wisdom. If that analysis of the film makes it seem very serious, it is not- it is often very funny with some wonderful lines delivered in two great performances by Julie Waters and Michael Caine. (There is also a brilliant, and very memorable, synthesiser score from David Hentschel). I did not like the sub-plot involving Susan's flatmate Trish, a suicidally depressed culture-vulture, played by Maureen Lipman as an exaggerated caricature. ("Wouldn't you just die without Maaahler?") I also felt an opportunity was lost by filming in Dublin rather than Liverpool. Doubtless the Irish authorities offered a better financial deal, but it meant that the film lacks the authentic sense of place which marks so many of the best British films. Those reservations apart, however, I loved the film. Its combination of wit, great dialogue, warmth and intellectual depth made it, in my view, easily the best film of 1983. Unfortunately, its chances of winning an Oscar were sabotaged by the fact that the British film industry was going through a brief but brilliant revival in the early eighties and British films- "Chariots of Fire" and "Gandhi"- had achieved the unprecedented feat of winning "Best Picture" in two successive years. A British hat-trick would have been a hurt to American national pride too serious to bear, so "Best Picture" went instead to that horrible tear-jerker "Terms of Endearment". 9/10

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