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Educating Rita (1983)

 -  Drama | Comedy  -  21 September 1983 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 8,692 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 64 user | 19 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A young wife decides to complete her education and take her exams. She meets a professor who teaches her to value her own insights while still being able to beat the exams. The change in ... See full summary »

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Title: Educating Rita (1983)

Educating Rita (1983) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rita Susan White
Michael Williams ...
Brian
...
Trish
Jeananne Crowley ...
Julia
...
Denny
Godfrey Quigley ...
...
Elaine
Patrick Daly ...
Bursar (as Pat Daly)
Kim Fortune ...
...
Tiger (as Philip Hurdwood)
Hilary Reynolds ...
Lesley
Jack Walsh ...
Price
Christopher Casson ...
Professor
Rosamund Burton ...
Denise
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Storyline

A young wife decides to complete her education and take her exams. She meets a professor who teaches her to value her own insights while still being able to beat the exams. The change in her status causes friction between her and her husband. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Frank Bryant is a professor of literature. And Rita is his newest student. A hairdresser who thinks Macbeth runs the local pub. And Hamlet is a plate of eggs with cheese. He's a failed writer who has given up on his life. She's determined to change hers by getting an education. And the more she loves to learn. The more he learns how to love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Educando a Rita  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Frank is getting the hidden liquor bottle from his bookshelf, he gets it from behind a book titled The Lost Weekend (1945), a clear reference to the 1945 film of the same name. The movie features alcoholism as well. See more »

Goofs

When Rita oils Frank's door, the position of her bag on her back changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Frank walks on campus and addresses some students]
Dr. Frank Bryant: Good afternoon.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: Polk Defeats Truman (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shaw would be proud.
16 April 2006 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

What delights me most about this movie is that in early 2006 it finally came out on DVD. There is a minor glitch in the establishing scene at the beginning, but to see Rita once again in widescreen is almost like seeing it for the very first time.

Educating Rita is one of many re-tellings of Shaw's Pygmalion, itself based on a Greek myth, so the story is nothing new. Rita, as so many great British films, is based on a play, in this case by Willie Russell, who also collaborated with director Lewis Gilbert, who, in addition to directing several Bond features, also directed Michael Caine in his Oscar nominated title role in Alfie, on the delightful Shirley Valentine, cast in a similar vein. It would be easy to think of Rita as My Fair Lady without the Marne Nixon voice overs, but that would be, as a classmate of Rita's puts it, facile.

The combination of Michale Caine and Julie Walters is pure magic. Unlike Dudley Moore's lovable drunk, Caine's Frank Bryant is a drunk that is difficult to love, which makes him far more interesting. He wallows, not in self pity, which would be disgusting, but in the infinitely sadder depths of self acceptance and resignation to shortcomings. He is a failed drunken poet who has lost the capacity to feel his own life.

Enter Rita, a hairdresser who wants to learn literary criticism, but more importantly, learn a way out of a life that she feels all too well. From his jaundiced perspective, Frank fears that educating Rita would transform her into just another one of the lifeless women that litter his life, but Rita will not be denied. Gradually, through voracious consumption of the Canon of Western Literature, Rita learns what she believes to be a better song to sing.

But it's not that simple. Rita finds that people, even educated people, in the end, have only themselves to cling to, and Shaw, Blake, Ibsen and Chekov may help fill up the empty moments, but they can't take away the emptiness itself. What does Rita want? Frank? A baby? Her ex-husband? No. What Rita wants is choices, and the freedom to choose among them for herself, and getting there is warm and moving drama that elevates Educating Rita among the absolute best of its era and genre.

David Hentschel's synthesized soundtrack is absolutely wonderful. It is by now so obviously from another era that it allows you to be drawn even more into the film, giving it a more timeless than dated feel. The supporting cast is wonderful, including Michael Williams, who, aside from being Mr. Judi Densch for the last thirty years of his life, also received a Papal knighthood, and classically renowned actress Maureen Lipman who was later awarded a C.B.E. for her work in British theatre.

Ultimately, however, it is the sheer magic of Caine and Walters, no less so than with Harrison and Hepburn in My Fair Lady, that gives Rita the boundless charm, wit, and passion that have made it one of my favorite films of all time.


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