BFI 100Movies

BFI 100: 84 – Educating Rita (1983)

Here we continue, what will probably eventually become known as, the ill-fated journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1. I’ll try to keep these blogs relatively spoiler free and I’ll consider them only a small record of moving through this series.

© Columbia Pictures

There is a defining shot in Lewis Gilbert’s Educating Rita – a film based on Willy Russell’s stage play – that is both visually striking and thematically moving. For reasons I won’t spoil, we find a Chekov book burning in a fire. In a film thematically rich with ideas of freedom, it is a visual allusion to an all too real lack thereof. Educating Rita is a touching, and at times poignant, comedy. Michael Caine is strong as Dr. Frank Bryant but it is Walters who delivers a stand-out performance as the titular Rita.

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