Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Rita, Sue and Bob Too!

United Kingdom 1986
Directed by
Alan Clarke
95 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Rita, Sue and Bob Too!

Synopsis: Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and (Sue Michelle Holmes) are a couple of slappers from a poxy council estate in Bradford in West Yorkshire.  In their last year of high school; they earn pocket money by babysitting for Bob (George Costigan) and Michelle (Lesley Sharp, a couple living in a large detached house in a better part of town. Not getting any gratification from his wife, Bob propositions Rita and Sue, who, both virgins and keen to grow up, take up his offer.

Alan Clarke, like Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, learned his trade working in television at a time when this was the most fruitful medium for young film-makers in the UK with strong support for work that depicted the everyday reality of British society. Unfortunately Clarke died young (as did the screenwriter Andrea Dunbar) and this was his last film. Over the years, both Leigh and Loach have made this sort of material familiar territory and become quite sophisticated in marrying social criticism with the demands of cinema-goers for polished productions. This means that Clarke’s film which was a hit in its day, looks very rough-and-ready now although it stands up well as a portrait of a place and time.

The script was adapted by Dunbar from two of her semi-autobiographical stage plays; Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1982) and The Arbor (1980). A bare-bones production, it does justice to Dunbar’s tell-it-like-it-is story and dialogue, giving a good-humoured, if-you-don’t laugh-you’ll-cry account of life in Northern England at the fag-end of the social scale. Its tongue in cheek tone is well summarised by the late '70s novelty band Black Lace performing "We're Having a Gang Bang" to an appreciative Saturday night pub audience.

FYI: Anyone interested in Dunbar’s work would be well-advised to seek out Clio Barnard’s remarkable documentary on her, The Arbor (2010)




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst