Educating Rita is a kick, with a wonderful performance from Julie Walters at its heart. Michael Caine, too, is perfectly cast as a poet long since turned to the bottle. Watching those two play off of one another is good fun; they breathe life into the pat writing. When the story wanders out to follow either character out in the world, the minor characters are much less well rounded. (She has a loutish cockney husband and family, he has intellectual friends who bring wine to parties. Surprised?)
If you understand the basic outline of the plot here -- cockney young woman trying to raise herself in charmingly spirited fashion, professor in his cups who finds the upstart refreshing -- you aren't going to be surprised by where the story goes. Educating Rita does handle all the likely turns with grace, though, and that lets you concentrate on appreciating the acting. The movie's very watchable and has a good heart.