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 »
London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave... See full summary »
Richard E. Grant,
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Darren O. Campbell
I hated the 1980s when I lived through them, but looking back from a distance, it's easier to make sense of them. Rita, Sue and Bob Too is an exemplary British '80s film. It's not very pretty - Rita and Sue are two giggling teenage girls, all decked out in white - from their stilletos to the highlights in Sue's hair. They live on a sink-hole council estate in Bradford. Bob is "middle-class" in that he lives in sterile private housing
all nice lawns and open spaces. But Bob
drops his "h"s too, and wears a gold chain.
The three begin a "relationship" which is based on sex. None of the characters are represented as particularly nice, but instead they're "real". I knew a lot of Ritas and Sues when I was growing up, and the two young actresses who play these parts do a stellar job.
For me, a lot of the humour in the film derives from the depictions of "class" - from Sue's awful drunk father uselessly brandishing a baseball bat, to Bob's wife - clearly only about half a stilleto heel up the social ladder than Rita and Sue, but desperate to be seen to be something better. Her acting is stilted, laughable, awful. But it's supposed to be - the character is acting at being posh - badly. Lines like "Make your own f**king tea" when she's trying to impress and intimidate the girls are wonderfully comic.
I also like the racial slant to the film - the guy who plays Sue's Asian boyfriend is attractive, and presented both sympathetically and unsympathetically at the same time (like most of the lead characters in the film) - at first he's nervous around Sue, but quickly tries to assert control over her. When Sue drops him, he's pathetic again, but this too is only a ruse. I think this film paved the way for later films like "East is East", which reminds me of it a lot.
I also like the depictions of gossipy, interfering neighbours - both from the under-class estate (especially the strange old man who dances in glee at the "street-fight") and the middle-class private housing (the guy who endlessly waters his plants in the garden so he can spy on the events in Bob's house). One of my favourite sequences is when Bob's wife's friend comes to tell her that she's seen Bob with the girls. Her fakey "concern" is shown
not by speech, but by the fact that
she is half running to the house: she can't WAIT to tell her news and ruin the relationship. All of this is so cleverly and wittily observed, in a completly understated way.
This is a brilliant film. Put it on your "must-see" list.
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