Educating Rita

Synopsis: In London, the twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins the literature course in an open university and has tutorial with the middle-aged Dr. Frank Bryant that is an alcoholic and deluded professor from the upper-class without self-esteem. Frank lives with the also Professor Julia and they have a loveless relationship; Julia has a love affair with the dean Brian. The amusing Rita gives motivation to Frank to prepare her for the exams to join the university while she leaves Denny and moves to the house of the waitress Trish, who loves Gustav Mahler and is a cult woman. Will she succeed in the exams?
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Lewis Gilbert
Production: Columbia Pictures Corporation
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

- Afternoon, sir.

- Good afternoon.

In dealing with this, Dr Bryant,

do you think it's wise to pursue the

metaphysical nature of Blake's poetry?

Dr Bryant!


I was asking, Doctor,

if you think that in approaching Blake

we should pursue

the metaphysical aspect of his poetry.

Most definitely.

Blake. They all get

so worked up about him.

Blake. Do you know what he is?

He is a dead poet. That's all.

I'm sorry, Dr Bryant, but I can't agree.

To dismiss William Blake

as a dead poet is "faseel".


I've studied Blake extremely closely

over a number of years

and I absolutely disagree

with your appraisal of his genius.

Dr Bryant,

I don't think you're listening to me.

Mr Collins, I don't think

you're saying anything to me.

- Doctor, are you drunk?

- Drunk?

Of course I'm drunk.

You don't really expect me

to teach this when I'm sober?

Well, then you won't mind...

if I leave your tutorial.

Why should I mind? What do you want

to be stuck in here for anyway?

Because we want to study literature.


Look - the sun is shining!

You're all young!

What are you doing in here?

Why don't you all go and do something?

Go out and make love or something.


- Julia.

- Darling, can I have the car keys?

Yeah. Has your class finished?

Ages ago. Don't forget -

Brian and Elaine for supper.

- Now, you do know I'm gonna be late.

- No.

Darling, I told you,

I've got a new student coming.

- What time?

- Open University, very late.

Though why a grown adult

should want to come to this place

after putting in a hard day's labour

is beyond me.

Dr Bryant?

He actually said, "What is assonance?"


He didn't have a clue

what assonance was!

Er, come in.

Come in!

For God's sake, come in!

I'm comin' in, aren't I? You wanna get

that bleedin' handle fixed.

Er, yes, yes, I meant to.

No good meaning to,

you wanna get on with it.

One day you'll be shouting, "Come in,"

and it'll go on forever

cos the poor sod won't be able to get in

and you won't be able to get out.

- And you are...?

- I'm a what?

- Pardon?

- What?

And you are...?

What is your name?

Me first name?

Well, that would constitute

some sort of start.

- Rita.

- Rita. Ah.

Here we are.

Rita? It says here Mrs S White.

Oh, yes, that's S for Susan.

That's just me real name.

But I'm not a Susan any more,

I've changed me name to Rita.

- You know, after Rita Mae Brown?

- No.

Rita Mae Brown

who wrote Rubyfruit Jungle.

Haven't you read it?

It's a fantastic book, you know.

Do you wanna lend it?

Yes, yes. Well, thank you very much.


And what do they call you round here?


But you may call me Frank.

OK. Frank.

That's a nice picture, isn't it, Frank?

- Er, yes, I suppose it is.

- It's very erotic.

I don't think I've looked at that picture

in ten years.

But yes, it is, I suppose so.

There's no suppose about it,

look at those tits.

Do you mind me using words like that?

- Like what?

- Tits.

- No.

- No, you wouldn't.

It's only the masses

who don't understand.

It's not their fault

but sometimes I hate them.

I do it to shock them sometimes.

You know, like, when I'm

in the hairdresser's, where I work,

I'll say something like,

"I'm really f***ed," dead loud

and it doesn't half cause a fuss.

But educated people

don't worry, do they?

It's the aristocracy that swears most.

It's all "Pass me the f***ing pheasant,"

with them.

But you couldn't tell them that

round our way.

- Aren't you interviewing me?

- Do I need to?

Oh, I talk too much, don't I?

Yeah, I know I talk a lot.

I don't at home but I don't often get

the chance to talk to someone like you.

Would you like to sit down?

- No. Can I smoke?

- Tobacco?

What? Yeah!

- Was that a joke?

- Yes.

- 'Ere y'are, do you want one?

- I'd like one...

- but I promised not to smoke.

- I won't tell anyone.


I hate smokin' on me own. Everyone

seems to have packed up these days.

All afraid of getting cancer.

Bloody cowards.

- Would you like a drink?

- What of?

- Whisky.

- Oh, yeah.

My mate's got a drinks cabinet like that.

Tell me, what made you

suddenly decide to do this?

It's not sudden. I've been realising

for ages that I'm out of step.

I'm 26, I should've had a baby by now.

Everyone expects it.

But I mean, I don't want a baby yet. No.

I wanna discover meself first.

Do you understand that?

- Yes.

- Yeah.

I've, you know, I've tried to explain it

to me husband, you know,

but, between you and me,

I think he's thick.

Well, he doesn't want to see, yeah.

- What's this like?

- Howards End?

Howards End! Sounds filthy, doesn't it?

EM Foster.

- Forster.

- Oh, yeah.

- What's it like?

- Read it. Would you like to borrow it?

Yeah, all right. I'll look after it for you.

If I pack the course in, I'll post it back.

You haven't even started yet.

Why would you pack it in?

Well, I just might, you know.

Might think it was a soft idea.

- What does assonance mean?

- What?

- Don't laugh at me.

- Er, no.

Erm, assonance, it's a form of rhyme.

Erm, what's an example?

Do you know Yeats?

- The wine lodge?

- No, WB Yeats, the poet.


Well, in his poem

The Wild Swans At Coole,

Yeats rhymes the word "swan"

with the word "stone".

You see?

That's an example of assonance.

Ooh, yeah,

means getting the rhyme wrong.

I've never thought of it like that

but I suppose it does mean

getting the rhyme wrong.

I love this room.

I love the view from this window.

Do you like it?

I don't often consider it.

I sometimes get the urge

to throw something through it.

- What?

- A student, usually.

You're bleedin' mad, aren't ya?


What are you lookin' at?

Are you a good ladies' hairdresser, Rita?

Yeah, I am. But they expect

too much, you know.

Like, women come in the hairdresser's

and half an hour later

they wanna walk out a different person.

You know, but I mean,

if you wanna change,

you've got to do it from the inside,

haven't you, like I'm trying to do.

Do you think I'll be able to learn?

Are you sure you're serious

about wanting to learn?

I'm dead serious, yeah.

I know I take the piss

but that's only because

I'm not, well, confident, like.

But I want to be. Honest.

When, you know, when do you actually

start teaching me, like?

What can I teach you?


You want a lot.

And I can't give it.

Between you and me and the walls,

actually I am an appalling teacher.

That's all right most of the time -

appalling teaching is quite in order

for my appalling students

but it is not good enough for you,

young woman.

All I know is -

and you must listen to this -

all I know is that I know

absolutely nothing.

And besides, I don't like the hours

of this Open University business.

They expect me to teach

when the pubs are open.

It's all right.

There are other tutors, good ones.

I will arrange one for you.

Are you saying you want me to go?

Goodbye, Rita.

Wait a minute. Listen to me.

I'm on this course, you are my tutor

Rate this script:1.5 / 2 votes

Willy Russell

William Russell (born 23 August 1947) is an English dramatist, lyricist and composer. His best known works are Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, Blood Brothers and Our Day Out. more…

All Willy Russell scripts | Willy Russell Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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