...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

November 04, 2007

Educating Rita - 7

What is the purpose of higher education? This 1983 British film answers this questions by exploring the education of Rita (Julie Waters), a hair dresser, who at 26 has decided she wants to better herself by attending college classes. She meets with an English tutor who having a long career has gotten bored of teaching and become a drunk. Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine) becomes intrigued by Rita as she ask real everyday questions. This throws him for a loop as he is use to pretentious students and having to play the part of the expert and scholar. As the film goes on the questions of the purposes of college become entangled in issues of relationships, social mobility, and the meaning of thinking critically. Ultimately though, it becomes about Rita and Frank's identity, the people they are and the people they want to become. While this film is pretty old, I think the questions remain similar and poignant for those that care about the value and "reason for being" in higher education. Thanks Andrea for the recommendation.

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