A trio of Oscar nominations and a pair of Golden Globes went to this acclaimed romantic comedy-drama based on the play by Willy Russell. Julie Walters stars as Rita, a witty, 26-year-old working class British hairdresser who decides to seek an education at Open University. Rita needs a tutor, and she selects Dr. Frank Bryant (Michael Caine), an alcoholic college literature professor whose life is a shambles. Divorced, Bryant's new lover is now having an affair with his best friend and he's increasingly depressed, seeking solace in whisky. Bryant's domestic turmoil is mirrored by Rita's, as she has opted for college over motherhood, a source of friction between her and her husband. As Rita blooms intellectually under the tutelage of Bryant, she realizes that what she really lacks is self-confidence, not education, and a gentle romance blossoms between her and Bryant. At home, however, Rita's newfound self-respect and intelligence cause her even greater pain. Director Lewis Gilbert and writer Russell teamed again six years later on the similarly-themed Shirley Valentine (1989).