Educating Rita (1983)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was watching this old movie with Michael Cane and it’s about a hairdresser who asks an old lit teacher for help.

The story begins with Rita (Julie Walters) seeing Dr. Bryant for tutoring. Despite her being very much a working class lady, Rita wants to become educated and Dr. Bryant is her chance. Through the course of their relationship, he teaches her to think and appreciate literature like a good college student…and, over time, he falls deeper and deeper into self-pity and alcoholism. She wants to learn the classics, she’s excited the first time she went to the theatre to see MacBeth but she can’t really fit in.

There’s this emotional scene when she visits the professor after failing to attend a party he threw at his house and tells him she was dejected and went to the pub.

I decided I wasn’t coming here again. I went to the pub.
They were all singing, all of ’em.
Denny, looking happy. He’d just got a few days’ holiday from work.
And me mother, not really on top form, something was worrying her. Probably me dad. They were never really love’s young dream.
Our Sandra, in love. Her fiancé, about the same. And her mates, all of ’em, singing… ‘oh, some song they’d learned from the jukebox.
And I thought, “Just what the frig am I trying to do? Why don’t I just pack it in, stay here and join in with the singin’?”

– And why didn’t you?

– You think I can, don’t you? You think because you pass a pub doorway and hear them all singing, you think we’re all OK, that we’re surviving with the spirit intact.
I did join in the singing but when I turned around, me mother had stopped singin’, and she was cryin’.
I said, “Why are you crying, Mother?”
And she said, “There must be better songs to sing than this.”
And I thought, “Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do, isn’t it?”
Sing a better song.
That’s why I’ve come back and that’s why I’m staying.

So let’s start work.

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