Alongside the aforementioned juxtaposition of class values and attitudes, there emerges a comical situation in the movie when Rita aspires to achieve things that Bryant no longer values. These trappings of higher education include the ability to speak wittily, the acquired taste to appreciate high culture and the intellect to overcome the everyday limitations imposed by social class. Bryant, on the other hand, feels that Rita might lose her natural zest and spontaneity if she were to receive formal education. In other words, the things that Frank comes to admire, Rita already possesses in abundance:
“spontaneous feelings, a unique personality, and a solid grounding in the unpretentious world of basic work and simple pleasures. While in the coming weeks and months he succeeds in teaching Rita how to read and analyze literature in a scholarly way, and to express her insights in well-argued essays, Frank never loses the nagging feeling that he is deforming Rita as much as he is educating her. What slowly emerges as a result of his tutorials, as far as he is concerned, is not Rita’ s true self, but a pretentious mask and façade that may be desirable for a certain class of people, but that are hardly worth the sacrifices that Rita is making in order to acquire them.” (Erskine, et. al, 2000)
For, while an array of British production in the 1980s and after respond to the emergent social and economic conditions of the period while also meeting the challenges of feminism, they also began to render the notion and need of a male working-class hero problematic. Consequently, many other films of the period simply pushed him to the background. In films such as Educating Rita, Letter to Brezhnev, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, Business as Usual, it is the working-class woman who is the focus of narrative. Like Vroom, nevertheless, this genre is seldom a classic work of social realism. Hence, Educating Rita is a comedy of social manners that deliberately play with class and gender roles for comic effect. The film is also a ‘woman’s film’ in certain respects that dwell upon the conditions of women’s lives and foreground questions of female desire. However, in sum, the film stands out in its subversive use of the traditions of 1960s working-class realism (Hill, 1999).
Erskine, T. L., Welsh, J. M., Tibbetts, J. C., & Williams, T. (Eds.). (2000). Video Versions: Film Adaptations of Plays on Video. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Hill, J. (1999). British Cinema in the 1980’s: Issues and Themes. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Kramp, M. K., & Humphreys, W. L. (1993). Narrative, Self-Assessment, and the Reflective Learner. College Teaching, 41(3), 83-88.
McCreadie, M. (1990). The Casting Couch and Other Front Row Seats: Women in Films of the 1970s and 1980s. New York: Praeger Publishers.
THE REAL Ritas. (2006, June 3). Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), p. 12.
Text, Culture, Rhetoric: Some Futures for English. (2001). Education, 43(1), 5.