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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Bored with her life as a hairdresser, and under pressure from her husband to start a family, Rita enrolls in literature tutorials at a British university determined to better herself. (Paramount Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 9
  2. Negative: 2 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    Aided greatly by an expert film adaptation by its playwright, Willy Russell, Gilbert has come up with an irresistible story about a lively, lower-class British woman hungering for an education and the rather, staid, degenerating English professor who reluctantly provides her with one.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    80
    Lewis Gilbert, and two career best performances from his leading actors, give this film such energy it leaves the pleasant aroma of life and possibility.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    75
    This is a poignant if predictable take on the English class system, buoyed by an effervescent performance from Walters.
  4. The plot is ''Pygmalion'' warmed over, but Michael Caine and Julie Walters give sparkling performances, and director Lewis Gilbert keeps the action humming along.
  5. 60
    The film doesn't transcend its genre, but it's an honorable achievement within it.
  6. 50
    Educating Rita, which might have been a charming human comedy, disintegrated into a forced march through a formula relationship.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Blowen
    25
    If you were ever curious how a bad director can destroy the work of two talented actors and a slight, but funny, script, you need look no further than Educating Rita. [28 Oct 1983]

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 18, 2014
    7
    It is not a British version of MY FAIR LADY (1964, 6/10), EDUCATING RITA goes a bit higher than that, it is about how literature can improveIt is not a British version of MY FAIR LADY (1964, 6/10), EDUCATING RITA goes a bit higher than that, it is about how literature can improve one’s listless life and transfigure one’s entire bearing from within.

    Rita, aka Susan White (Walters) is a 26-year-old hairdresser, married to an ordinary electrician for 6 years, she never goes to college, but finds herself as a thirsty bookworm, thus under the aim of completing her education and take the exam, she eagerly takes an open university tutorial from a college literature professor Dr. Frank Bryant (Caine), a middle-age divorcé and drunkard. So it is a story of Rita’s transformation from a low-class commoner to a mature woman who realises her self-worth and does embrace to the life she is really pining for. At the same time, it is a brilliant two-hander, Frank’s life orbit also veers dramatically since the two form a thoroughly cordial friendship. (I was so relieved it didn’t end up like a Hollywood mawkish rom-com with artificial happy ending.)

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