Educating Rita (1983) Review
Educating Rita is an understated story about an alcoholic professor that agrees to tutor a hairdresser that has decided to go back to school, not completely knowing why initially. The script is NOT predictable in my opinion. There was a period in the film that seemed it was going to run the course of normal romantic comedies; then it veers off on its own. Some have said that it’s not a happy ending, but I disagree. There is a tinge of the bittersweetness in where the film leaves the two main characters, but it gives a strong indication of where both are in life after the film ends. They both get what they might be wanting when they are introduced, but maybe not what they want where their minds are at the end. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that. As I said, it did not end how I thought that it would.
There are quite a few chuckles. It is funny, but it is a more reserved humor. I found a few moments in the film that were very poignant, but not necessarily in the places where you might think. I was surprised how emotionally involved I was in some of the smaller quiet instances. It’s a film that largely relies on the actors to succeed, especially when it comes to the slightly bubble headed character that Julie Walters plays. She is quite a believable character even with her tendency to say and do the absurd. Michael Caine is Michael Caine. Hes typically fantastic in this in the role of a reserved, cynical professor. Both characters exhibit a degree of self loathsomeness in the film.
Caine manages to hide the characters feelings even when what he is feeling is right in front of you onscreen. Director Lewis Gilbert does a very good job presenting the screenplay by Willy Russell. There is a stretch at about the three quarter mark where the movie starts to feel like its going off course to meander a bit, but it resets and recovers. Its maybe just a little long and has a subplot or two that seems forced, but overall it manages to satisfy just enough in its denouement.
4.5 of 5
It also made my Best of 1983.