Educating Rita

Is Educating Rita* an optimistic film? Andy Beckett, in this weekend’s FT, argues that the British cinema of the early eighties was a cinema of optimism, in contrast with the pessimism of the films of the seventies.** Citing Educating Rita as an example of the cinema of optimism, Beckett describes Rita and Frank as “a frustrated hairdresser and an embittered alcoholic professor [who] better themselves and each other”. Putting aside the problematic argument that a film can be defined by how uplifting it is, I want to take issue with the idea that Educating Rita is optimistic at all. Continue reading