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Educating Rita [Import]

Michael Caine , Julie Walters , Lewis Gilbert    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Michael Caine and the knockout Julie Walters deliver a pair of wonderful performances in this endearingly bittersweet tale of a boozily burnt-out professor's tutoring of (and subsequent tutoring by) a free-spirited cockney hairdresser determined to improve her lot in life. The basic plot won't exactly surprise anyone who's ever seen a movie before, but the ace cast (particularly Caine, who's rarely this subtle) continually finds new directions to spin off from the rather rote path. Although the end result is perhaps just a little too convinced of its own adorability to attain classic status, this remains a rarity in the genre--a feel-good film that earns its emotions honestly. A nice change of pace for director Lewis Gilbert, who is perhaps better known for his contributions to the James Bond series. --Andrew Wright

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked gem of a romantic movie! April 6 2003
Format:VHS Tape
"Educating Rita", directed by Lewis Gilbert, is an overlooked gem of a film. Based on a London stage play, "Educating Rita" (a copy of which is sold by Amazon.co.uk for those who are interested) is the story of a 27-year old middle class London hairdresser/housewife (Julie Walters, in a convincing, touching performance) who, before having children, would like very much to learn about herself. Much to the annoyance of her husband, she enrolls in an "open university" literature course to begin her journey (open university is the British term for college night courses). Assigned as her tutor is Frank (Michael Caine, in his deservedly award-winning role), an older literature professor who suffers from low self esteem and has his own relationship problems.
But no, this movie is not what you would "typically" expect that storyline to be like. The feel of the movie is very play like -- fans of Glengarry or Death of a Salesman or movies of such ilk would immediately identify.
Had this film been made in the glam throes of Hollywood, Rita and Frank would have hit the sack within two scenes of meeting each other (and it would have been graphic, of course), then realized they were in love, followed by the inevitable obstacle to their relationship (probably a misunderstanding or rival for affections), finally ending up with them overcoming all. Every character and plot point would have been telegraphed well in advance. "Educating Rita" does none of this. There are no graphic sex scenes (or any sex scenes for that matter), no grand pronouncements of love, no cliche cliffhangers or deaths in icy seas. Instead, the story portrays Rita and Frank in a very realistic, human manner. As the story unfolds, we watch as they grow as individuals which causes their friendship to become richer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! Nov. 24 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Educating Rita is truly a joy from start to finish. Willy Russell's fantastic adaptation of his own successful stage play is firmly complimented by the divine suitability of Michael Caine and the golden Julie Walters in the lead roles. Julie Walters plays a sassy, street-smart, working-class heroine who is desperate to better herself though has obstacles thrown in her path as her husband fails to share Walters gutsy enthusiasm in making a better life for herself. Michael Caine turns up in one of his greatest roles yet as the drunken teacher who quickly succumbs to Walters down-to-earth charms. There is great feeling between Caine and Walters and both seemingly play off each other. Walters gets to deliver the funniest lines with her sharp, witty outlook on life though is given ample opportunity to display her true powerful range of acting abilities as does Caine. Both put in concentrated performances and approach their roles perfectly. They are given noble support from some fine British actors/esses such as Michael Williams as Brian who is secretly having a sordid affair with Caines wife and Maureen Lipman as the loveably eccentric Trish who's performance is vastly effective. A superb and unique film that sticks closely to the play and never overplays its hand. A true British comedy-drama masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Becoming both educated and independent April 1 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars RITA!! Oct. 23 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw this film one early fall morning after I had worked an all-nighter. I watched in deep somber as Micheal Caine formed a woman out of stone. This is a film closely related to the Pygmalion (sp?) story. I have learned that fact from a teacher at the college I now attend. I was once like Rita...common, confused, complacent in the ordinary ways of my limited existence, but my intelligence and desire to refine it slowly bubbled to the top. This movie is an inspiration to anyone who loves to learn, and to anyone who loves to live. And it's a beautiful depiction of the life we all find as we venture away from our common surroundings into a world filled with geniuses, charlatans, drunks, dreamers, and institutionalized philistines. I also love the way Dr. Bryant is influenced and inspired by his pupil, Rita....he moves past his mid life crisis with help from a person who is attempting to overcome the urge to have an early one. Rita's vibrant and positive attitude drives Dr. Bryant to explore his bottomless pit of despair and alcoholism deeper than ever before(he cannot handle the fact that life is leaving him behind). After he reaches the bottom, (and is looked down upon harshly by his colleages) he receives a new chance to start a bright life in Australia....he too eventually moves past the common complacency he had sunk into. This film is art!! Buy it!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heroine's Journey
I love this movie ... having first seen it in a movie theatre. On the surface it is a comedy with some tragedy for good measure and reality, the script is poignant and smart. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lee Shane
4.0 out of 5 stars Educating Rita
What a great movie and came within a short time. Only wish you had Shirley Valentine on DVD at a reasonable price as well !!
Published 21 months ago by Parisian Penny
5.0 out of 5 stars Mint
DVD was in mint condition when I received. Came exactly as expected. The movie is well done and is comedic at times. Good for a laugh.
Published on March 23 2012 by dh92
4.0 out of 5 stars "...to sing a better song..."
Rita White (Julie Walters) is a spunky, 26-year old working class woman who wants to improve her lot. Read more
Published on June 24 2010 by Kona
4.0 out of 5 stars Educating Rita
Educating Rita was introduced to me when practice teaching in a grade 12 Religion class. It was used to illustrate the necessity of exploring oneself in order to find true... Read more
Published on March 15 2010 by D. Zuber
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD
At last this wonderful film comes out on DVD. I have waited so long for this moment. This is a film that looks good, sounds good and has too many memorable moments to mention. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars An underappreciated gem
Julie Walters and Michael Caine are brilliant in this timeless comedy. The plot avoids the all too easy romantic angle to show the empowering aspect of education in a woman's life. Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by Leslie Scoopmire
4.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet and fuuuneeee!
No one can play a world-weary, boozy burnout as well as Michael Caine. Well, maybe Michael Douglas (Wonder Boys) is sneaking up on him, but still. Read more
Published on April 17 2004 by Peggy Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars How i discovered this movie
I am a GCSE student at Great Marlow School, and we started reading Educating Rita (the play), and our teacher said the school had a copy of the video if we wished to watch it. Read more
Published on March 6 2004 by R. J. Steer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie!
The only complaint I could possibly have is that the synthesizer-laden score (this WAS the '80s when this was made, after all) comes over a bit heavy-handed and pretentious. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2002 by B. K. MORTON
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