After reading and thoroughly enjoying Julie Walters’ autobiography, my attention was drawn to this film. Made back in 1983 I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by special effects and the like… just a good honest story. And that’s what I got.
Educating Rita tells the story of a young woman who is not content with her lot. Rita (Julie Walters) is married to Denny, who she thinks is “a bit thick” and he’s desperate for a baby. Rita, however, isn’t ready. She wants to get to know herself before she becomes a mother. Therefore, she joins the Open University to help her look for that “something else” that she’s missing. There she meets Frank Bryant (Michael Caine), a somewhat disillusioned professor. They strike up a rapport and become friends as well as student and teacher. For this reason, they frustrate each other. Frank is frustrated that Rita takes what she is learning too literally without trying to think for herself, and Rita is fed up of watching Frank drown his sorrows in the bottom of a whisky bottle.
The story ambles along pleasantly and is enjoyable. It’s what I’d call wholesome. It won’t blow your socks off and there’s nothing revolutionary about it (not even for 25 years ago!), but its a simple, funny film detailing the lives of two characters who have a profound effect on one another. It’s definitely worth a watch, particularly if you like Walters and Caine.