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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Self-belief. Importance of education. Express yourself. Perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Rita embodies social mobility, a love of learning, and perseverance in overcoming adversity. She grows and develops throughout the movie, completely through her own will. Frank is an alcoholic whose disruptive behavior changes for the better thanks to Rita's influence.
Violence & Scariness
Suicide attempt by pill overdose -- character is saved by emergency services. Character lifts someone's skirt against their wishes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Adultery. Discussion of contraceptive pill. Painting displays naked breasts.
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Language includes "piss," "pissed," "crap," "t-ts," "bitch," "bloody," "sod," "buggering," "hell," "wanker," and "f--k." "Jesus" and "God" both used as exclamations, Nazi salute as a mock-petulant response.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and smoke. Frank is an alcoholic and on two occasions drinks to excess with negative consequences. Child sneaks a sip of beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Educating Rita is a BAFTA-winning British dramedy about diversity and class that's based on a successful stage play by Willy Russell. Rita (Julie Walters) is a positive role model who overcomes hardship through a love of learning, strength, and courage. Professor Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) is an alcoholic who drinks to excess and publicly disgraces himself, but he changes for the better under Rita's influence. Strong language is frequent and includes "f--k" and "wanker." In one scene, a character attempts suicide via an overdose of pills but is saved. Sexual content includes adultery, kissing, and a painting with naked breasts. A character lifts someone's dress against their wishes. In addition to Frank's drinking, characters drink regularly, and some smoke. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This dramedy has two highly charismatic leads -- Walters and Caine -- working at the top of their game and elevating an already forward-thinking script to a BAFTA-winning classic. Based on Willy Russell's successful stage play, Educating Rita is inspirational but spiky enough to retain the rough edges that keep it grounded and realistic. It explores weighty themes (alcoholism, social isolation, suicide) but never gets bogged down in them. The relationship between Caine's professor and Walters' student is initially professional and then one of firm friendship, with no overt romantic connotations needed. Educating Rita is a love letter to learning, embracing diversity, mixing outside your social circle, and following your dreams.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Movies with Strong Female Characters
Movies with Inspiring Teachers
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate