Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
The determination of an unlettered, Liverpudlian hairdresser to storm the barricades of Higher Learning, through private tutorials with a burnt-out Scotch-addicted poet and against stiff opposition from her working-class husband, is sufficiently touching to overcome all dramatic short-cuts, greased wheels, and tail winds. The movie is more truthful about the social perils than the intellectual faux pas, for example, of the a-little-learning-is-a-dangerous-thing type). But it thankfully resists taking a couple of paths open to it (extracurricular romance, alcoholic rehabilitation) which would have diverted the relationship from pure teacher-student. Michael Caine (working with the director, Lewis Gilbert, who really launched his career in Alfie) is thoroughly, uncompromisingly, majestically seedy as the literature professor whose library shelves contain as many bottles as books. Julie Walters has to grow on you, or just grow. And she grows a lot. 1983.
- Rated PG