Michael Caine is a university professor and Julie Walters is the lower class, cockney hairdresser who seeks to better her life and become educated with Caine as her tutor. As she becomes more educated through Caine's help, she becomes free from a stifling marriage to a nice guy who is going nowhere and wants Rita to remain with him in that lot in life. Meanwhile, the educator also grows through his relationship with Rita. Caine is no Professor Higgins from "My Fair Lady" ... quite the contrary, he is an alcoholic who is spinning his wheels. But underneath, he has the seeds of an urbane Professor Higgins. His wife can no longer take it and is having an affair with another professor. Caine too becomes freed from his situation as the bubbly Rita makes him see beyond his narrow, alcohol fogged horizons.
Although this movie is touching and romantic, it also has plenty of humor. Caine's wife's and her boyfriend's attempts at covering up their affair is absolutely hilarious including a running joke that had me in stitches. The bittersweet ending should be good for a sniffle or two. I heartily recommend this movie.