Educating Rita (1983, Michael Caine, Julie Walters)

Poster for the movie ""
110 min - Drama, Comedy, Romance - 21 September 1983
Our rating:

Willy Russell's adaptation of his stage play picked up Oscar nominations and BAFTAs for director Lewis Gilbert and its two stars, MICHAEL CAINE and JULIE WALTERS (as well as Golden Globes for the two leads). All were well deserved for a film that is both humorous and emotionally dramatic with Caine in particular giving one of his better performances while Walters film debut confirmed her as an actress of note.

She's a Liverpudlian housewife/hairdresser who, before having children, wants to learn something and enrols in the Open University where, at summer school, she comes up against jaded alocholic academic MICHAEL CAINE who's teaching by the numbers. But slowly, her enthusiasm and questioning sparks a relationship between the two but one that is about changing life rather than love. Walters ebullience eventually wears down Caine's world weariness but, ironically, as she gains knowledge, so she is in danger of losing her natural enjoyment of life.

Gilbert, who also directed Caine in the classic Alfie , lets Russell's dialogue make the film rather than impose flash techniques and the result is an intimate portrait of two very different characters, with the supporting cast all adding to the quality without overshadowing the principles. There are some tongue-in-the-cheek touches - Caine hides booze on the bookshelf behind a copy of The Lost Weekend - but overall, this take on the Pygmalion plot works at every level.


Director:  Lewis Gilbert
Writers:  Willy Russell
Production Companies:  Acorn Pictures

Release Date:  21 September 1983

Running Time:  1 h 50 min

Genres: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Country:   United Kingdom

Language:  English

Tagline: Sometimes students end up being the best teachers.

Budget and Box Office takings where known