Written by / 7/29/2011 / No comments / , ,

MICHAEL CAINE & JULIE WALTERS IN EDUCATING RITA

1983 rating: ***
The Pygmalion story's been done a whole lot, most famously in “My Fair Lady,” and here it goes again in a quirky British comedy starring Michael Caine as a classy, boozing, bearded English professor and a lower class girl played with gusto by Julie Walters, who seeks him as a private tutor, wanting to learn about books and… all the stuff her pub pals care less about.

Julie Walters
The first half, as Caine and Walters help each other – she’s getting smarter and he’s drinking less – works great. But it’s not long till Walters progresses past her mentor, who falls head over loafers with the endearingly flawed working girl.

When she winds up at an out-of-town college, causing him to sink back to the bottle, the movie hits a slower, less interesting stride. The dreamlike, synthesized score, popular in 1980's British films, seems more fitting to a low budget sci-fi, and the side-characters… including Caine’s cheating wife and lover, and Walter’s dimwitted husband and artsy best friend… are merely one-dimensional. But the two leads, having no other options but each other, carry the film: only they don’t have enough scenes together later on. Based on a play that sticks to one setting with two characters, perhaps this should have been as contained, especially with the talent involved. Although Walter's cadence of speech gets annoying, but Caine, as usual, remains sublime throughout.
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