Julie Walters shot to stardom with her role as Rita White (aka Susan) in Educating Rita.
Susan is a seemingly intelligent hairdresser living in Liverpool who decides to enhance herself, to start studying literature and try to educate herself. She soon is met by Frank (Michael Caine) who is assigned to help her with her education.
Julie Walters is just charming as this working class girl, with a quick wit. Susan is not stupid, in any way shape or form, she really just has a low level of educating and is looked down upon because of this, so to get some respect from various people, she decides to let Frank teach her.
Susan is manipulative, ballsy, and really very unkind when someone seems to be smarter then her. What I love about Julie Walters is how she never really lets this hold her back from seeming very loving. Michael Caine's Frank is somewhat of a mess, I can understand he is playing his character in a realistic way, but he always comes off as being very uninterested in the work he's doing. And Walters is the complete opposite, for this to be her first movie, she is amazing as Susan.
I love the part when she says her name is Rita, so people won't know who she really is. I can completely relate to Susan, and Walters, again, does a terrific job at conveying her emotions throughout her entire learning process.
This was the kind of performance I wanted from Carey Mulligan this past year. Without totally overdoing or underdoing it, Susan comes across as being smart and brassy.
It's an underrated performance, and near perfect accomplishment from Julie Walters.