The play “Educating Rita” was written by Willy Russell in 1979, this modern play was followed by a film of the same title in 1983. The screen play was also written by Willy Russell. The Two main characters Frank and Rita are played by Michel Caine and Julie Walters.
The opening scene establishes the setting of the play and the contrast between the two main characters and their cultures. In the beginning of the film there is a tracking shot of Frank walking in the university campus, which gives the viewer the impression that Frank belongs to this environment as he is always being greeted as he walks in front of the university, this opposes Rita’s shot where she walks in the university with bright clothes and unsuitable footwear, confused she keeps looking around and asking students where to go.
Franks clothing shown in the tracking shot and the long shot of the university, immediately makes the audience think that frank is not organised, thus reflecting on his job as a teacher.
Rita’s entrance through the dark arches creates the atmosphere of an alien new environment for her. The classical music plays a major role in creating a formal and serious atmosphere which contrasts Rita’s crass and informal clothing.
When frank looks for his whisky bottle, there is a close up shot of the books in the library, this shot enables us to see the book where the bottle is located. The book was the “lost weekend”, this conveys the viewers that frank is missing out on something. In the part when Frank gets the whisky bottle from behind the book written by Charles Dickens which matches the play “picks up a book by Charles dickens” act1 scene 1.
In the scene where frank looks out of the window through a point of view shot this gives the audience who have read the or seen the play the notion that he wants to throw the students out of that window because he has a cynical personality as he mentions it to Rita in act1 scene 1, but for a person who hasn’t seen the play would think that Frank wants to be free.
When Frank talks to Julia there is an over the shoulder the shoulder shot for both characters. This puts us in the shoes of the character and enables us to see the other character through their perspective. For example when there is an over the shoulder shot of Frank it enables the audience to see how Julia nags him. on the other hand the over the shoulder shot of Julia it shows his dependency on alcohol.
The tracking shot of Rita shows how out of place she is in the university. When Rita goes into the university she walks awkwardly because of her unsuitable footwear; this has the symbolic effect that she struggles in her life.
When Rita tries to open Frank’s classroom door a high angle shot is used to make her seem small, insignificant and powerless. She struggles to open the door which shows that she struggles with a simple task of opening a door it also shows that Frank is careless.
In the middle of the film Rita dresses up for the dinner party. She tries to change her voice and clothes to be a different person, but this does not follow her concept of changing from the inside so she ends up being herself. A point of view is used to enable the audience to see her opinion of herself.
When Rita was arguing with Denny about his irrevocable decision, the lighting was dim which contrasts with franks house which is brightly lit. This lighting is a symbol of the level of education and happiness in the two locations; this also applies to the pub.
After she gets dressed Rita tries to attend the dinner party. She finds it difficult to find transport. This symbolises that she struggles in her life. The taxi splashing Rita make Rita look insignificant in the community because of her education and background.
When Rita arrives at Frank’s house the camera zooms at her face and produces an extreme close up of her expression, the music reaches a crescendo as she steps up to the front door at this time her indecisive expression is emphasised by the close up shot. This shot effectively enables the audience to be involved in the film by letting them be the character.
At the airport Rita’s hair has returned to its natural colour after being white with pink streaks at the start. This change of colour shows that she has matured and she is now more confident because of her education. At this stage she has followed her concept of changing from the inside and not by changing ones appearance.
Rita reaches the airport before Frank does this shoes how unorganised Frank is. There is an over the shoulder shot for both characters to show how they changed at the end of the film. Rita has become more serious and polite while frank is more organised and less cynical.
There is a two shot where both characters look at each other while they are smiling this tells us it is a friendship and not a romantic relationship as they are happy that they are leaving each other.
After Frank boards the plane Rita walks away slowly and looks back and then starts to walk away quickly this gives the impression that she is hesitating but knows she has to start a new life.
In the play the unity of place made the audience see the events outside the university through the characters point of view but the extra scenes allow us to see these events objectively. Therefore the audience will see Denny as a friendlier person than a dictator as portrayed by Rita in the play, while Julia seems to care for Frank rather than annoying him by her nagging as seen by the phone call in the beginning of the play.