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Categories: Movie Reviews

Lucinda Holt reviews Rita, Sue And Bob Too…

One of my favourite British films is Rita, Sue And Bob Too, it seems to be one of those films that everyone has seen and everyone seems to love. The film is set around a poverty-stricken estate in Bradford and focuses on two teenage girls who begin an affair with an older man.

It sounds a little creepy but Rita and Sue are so feisty and full of sass that they are never seen as victims. In fact older man Bob is seen as the pathetic one, he may have the good job and big house and loving family but he still wants more.

The film is full of crude innuendo and never fails to make me laugh. There are some poignant scenes, such as Sue suffering a miscarriage and then abuse from her new boyfriend.  But this film doesn’t linger on such moments.  It has a “that’s life” kind of attitude that is quite refreshing. It is a bleak story set in a bleak setting but the film leaves you feeling pretty good.  It only touches on those dark moments but everything else is kept fairly light.

The performances from Siobhan Finneran and Michelle Holmes are fantastic. These girls have been brought up in poverty, they have no ambitions and no prospects. They are bored and the film even points out that all they do is walk around the estate and babysit for Bob’s children. So when he makes his move on them they are excited about this adventure they embark on. George Costigan plays Bob so well, he is sleazy and desperate but very funny.  He really has no shame and Rita and Sue are really the ones who seem to be in control.  Lesley Sharp plays Bob’s long-suffering wife and she is probably the highlight of the film.  When she finds out about the affair, you really feel her anger. What ensues is a hilarious confrontation scene that everyone remembers for a crazy old man on a balcony…

rite sue bob

As a Northern girl who was brought up on a council estate, it all seems very familiar to me.  It seems others feel the same, it’s a film that makes people nostalgic. I remember seeing it very young on television late one night, the next day at school everyone was giggling and talking about it. The great thing about it is that you recognise the characters in this film, even if you aren’t from that kind of background. They are the people you see every day and most of them are oddly very likable.

This film along with Mike Leigh’s at the time really showed the real Britain. We had a flurry of period dramas and it seems there was hardly anything that showed the lives of the working and lower class. For the upper classes this would seem shocking, at the time there was a huge divide and that kind of background was hardly seen on film. Today people are more aware of the differences, films like Nil By Mouth, Fish Tank and even The Full Monty show the rest of the world that there is more to Great Britain and that a film like say, Four Weddings And A Funeral is not representative to the majority of us. We are diverse and as such our films have become much more real and we are no longer afraid to see the sometimes grim lives others lead.

The Spread

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Posted on May 12, 2014

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