I happened to see Educating Rita on television last night. Made in 1983, it’s a completely brilliant, uncomfortable, hilarious movie that punctures the British class system – from all angles – with unrestrained glee. It proved an interesting prequel to 2011’s The Intouchables, which I saw on dvd later the same evening.


Both movies cover similar tales, with similar themes, handled in largely similar ways; a wealthy but afflicted upper-class type receives life lessons and ultimately absolution, through an unlikely friendship with a salt-of-the-earth, force-of-nature, working class hero. Think Driving Miss Daisy or Will Smith’s hokey sidekick in The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Now don’t get me wrong; my heart absolutely loved The Intouchables – it’s hugely good natured, entertaining, laugh-out-loud funny, and I think well-meaning. Francois Cluzet, who has to act only with his head and face, is brilliant, and Omar Sy as the hired help is utterly winning. But in spite of this, my head still reeled somewhat from the more patronising Rita-esque comedy of class (let alone race, which caused the bigger consternation State-side.) The Intouchables filmed in Paris.