Educating Rita (movie)

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Educating Rita is a 1983 movie starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay is based on the play by Willy Russell.


University literature lecturer Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) in a bid to earn some extra money agrees to take on some Open University students. He is shocked when the 26-year-old Rita White (Julie Walters) turns up: a feisty, brash, working class hairdresser who wants to "find herself" by studying literature. Rita is under pressure from her husband Denny to settle down and have children - but education seems to open up new horizons for Rita intellectually and socially.

But, for Frank, Rita's blossoming is a loss of what made her interesting in the first place: instead of being fresh and vibrant, she is turning into the same thing Frank finds so boring in his university-educated friends, colleagues and wife. Rita believes she can now "sing a better song"; Frank responds that she can "sing a different song", not necessarily a better one. This is enough to turn Frank - in despondence - back to alcohol.

At the end of the film, Rita has got what she wanted: an education and, with it, a choice of how to live. Frank has been forced to leave the University for Australia, but sees it as a new opportunity.