Sing a Better Song

Educating Rita closely examines the importance of education. I never heard of Educating Rita, but my uncle regularly advised me to watch it. Turns out I ended up being quite invested in the film actually. In many respects, Educating Rita takes cues from the renowned stage play Pygmalion (or My Fair Lady as it’s known to those in musical theater). Dr. Frank Bryant is an alcoholic Open University professor who tutors a cocky young hairdresser who calls herself Rita.

Frank fills the role of Henry Higgins and Rita fills the role of Eliza Doolittle. Both characters play off each other so well that I wasn’t surprised to learn the film was based on a two actor stage play. Both leads were nominated for best acting Oscars. Since I’ve yet to see Michael Caine’s early work, it was refreshing to see him in a serious lead role. Educating Rita has moments of humor, but it’s the young Julie Walters who lightens up the stuffy university.

I could hardly believe this was her very first film. I’m so used to seeing her as Molly Weasley. Rita’s willingness to learn is a delight to watch. Frank feeds her classic literature and poetry until he begins to rediscover his own love of teaching. Of course their respective personal troubles put a damper on things. Rita’s education leads to her divorce and Frank falls into an alcoholic downward spiral when his marriage fails. Only together do they find a way to improve themselves. Educating Rita taught me a valuable lesson.

Educating Rita

Rita sits with Dr. Frank Bryant

2 thoughts on “Sing a Better Song

  1. This is another one I’ve never heard of, but it definitely sounds like a film everybody needs to watch. I didn’t realize Julie Waters went back that far, that’s pretty cool. Some of Michael Caine’s best stuff was in the 60’s and early 70’s, you definitely need to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

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