Based on a stage play brilliantly scripted by Willy Russell, the film follows a year in the lives of Rita, a young Liverpool hairdresser, and an older university lecturer, Frank. Rita is unhappy with her life and, looking for more meaning, signs up for a course in English Literature, taught by Frank. He is an alcoholic who only teaches the course to pay for drink. Both characters have a deep effect on the other. Frank is forced to face up to his problems, while Rita finds confidence and a thinking lifestyle. However, Frank despises pretentious intellectual culture and Rita seems to be joining it. Michael Caine and Julie Walters both turn in terrific perfomances, as one might expect from such consummate actors. Both won Golden Globe awards for this film. Their attraction is so compelling that it seems that this film will chart a romance between Frank and Rita, but life isn't as simple as that. This film is not about romance but about personal change. Its underlying message seems to be that life is tough and often cruel, but the human spirit can survive through courage and honesty and the will for change. I found it beautiful and poetic, as well as truthful about life, a minor masterpiece. It is one of the British Film Institute's top 100 films.