Rita, Sue and Bob Too
|Rita, Sue and Bob Too|
|Directed by||Alan Clarke|
|Produced by||Oscar Lewenstein
|Written by||Andrea Dunbar|
|Edited by||Steve Singleton|
|Distributed by||Channel 4|
Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a 1987 British film directed by Alan Clarke, set in Bradford, about two teenaged schoolgirls who have a sexual fling with a married man. It was adapted by Andrea Dunbar, based on two of her stage plays; Rita Sue and Bob Too (1982) and The Arbor (1980). Its portrayal of ordinary people's lives made it a cult film soon after its cinematic release. The strapline of the film was: "Thatcher's Britain with her knickers down."
The film opens with Sue's father, Kevin, (Willie Ross) walking back drunk from an all-nighter at the local pub. Sue goes to fetch Rita from home so they can go and babysit for Bob and Michelle (Lesley Sharp), a better-off couple who live in a nicer part of the city. When the couple returns later, Michelle pays the girls, and tells Bob to give them a lift home. Bob, however, drives them to an out of the way place to have sex with both of them. They nonchalantly agree, and he and the girls plan to make it a regular thing. By the time they're finished, it's 2 a.m.
Sue sneaks into her house hoping that everyone is in bed. However, her father is waiting for her in the living room, holding a half a snooker cue, threatening to "wrap it round [her] neck." Sue and her parents proceed to argue about why she's home so late, with Sue's mother taking her daughter's side. After her father gives up and goes to bed, Sue's mother asks for the truth, but Sue repeats the lie, to her mother's disappointment.
Sue gets a job at a local taxi firm, and meets Aslam (Kulvinder Ghir), a Pakistani boy who drives for the firm. He and another driver make a bet on who can get her into bed first. Sue rebuffs them. At school, Bob shows up at Rita and Sue's P.E. tennis class to take them for a "jump." Rita manages to get permission from the teacher to use the toilet (a ruse to see Bob); but Sue is denied and told to get back to the class. She takes her anger out on another student. Bob takes Rita to a Showhome, where they have sex.
Later on, Michelle finds a package of condoms in Bob's trousers whilst ironing them. Bob tells her that he and his mates were blowing them up like balloons at the pub for fun, but Michelle doesn't believe him, and they get into an argument. During the argument, it comes out that Michelle is frigid and reluctant to have sex, frustrating Bob. It also turns out that Bob previously had an affair, discovered when Michelle found his mistress's bracelet in their bed; the mistress had also been their babysitter. Michelle goes upstairs to get ready for their planned night out, for which Rita and Sue are again babysitting. Bob warns the girls that Michelle will ask them questions and try to trick them. They convince Michelle that Bob isn't sleeping with either of them.
After their night out, Bob and Michelle start arguing again, this time in front of Rita and Sue who desperately try not to laugh. Michelle takes her anger out on them and tells them to stop laughing at her. She then storms off to bed. For their part, Rita and Sue angrily storm home, as they'd been expecting Bob to have sex with them again. That night, Michelle decides to let Bob have sex with her to stop him going off with other women, but it goes badly.
The next day, on a school trip, Sue gets into a fight with a classmate who calls her a slag. Later, Rita and Sue skip school to go and meet Bob, hoping to make up for the previous night, but Bob can't get an erection, embarrassing himself and leaving Rita and Sue unsatisfied. He takes them out to a club instead, where Michelle's best friend Mavis happens to be, and spots Bob with the girls. Bob warns the panicked girls that Mavis will surely tell Michelle she saw them together.
The next morning, Mavis tells Michelle what she saw, and Michelle storms to Rita's house, drags her into Mavis's car, and takes her to Sue's flat to confront her, with Bob in tow. Michelle, Bob, Rita, Sue, and Sue's parents have a big argument in front of all the neighbours, who are all having a good laugh over it, including an old man across the street who cheers the parents on. Michelle blames the girls for being slutty, but Sue retorts that the reason Bob cheats on her is because she doesn't have enough sex with him. Michelle turns on Bob, goes home, ransacks the house, and she and their children leave in a taxi, never to return.
The next day, Sue goes to Rita's house to walk to school together. Rita tells her that she is no longer going to school, because Bob has asked her to move in with him. She also reveals that she is pregnant with Bob's child. When Bob arrives to take her away, enraged, Sue tells them both to get lost.
Sue dates Aslam as a rebound to get over Bob and Rita. They go to the cinema, and then off to a hideaway where they start kissing. Afterwards they go to Sue's flat where Aslam meets her parents. Her father comes home from the pub drunk and shouts racist comments at Aslam, causing him and Sue leave.
Months later, Sue finds out that Rita has miscarried, and visits her (and Bob) in the hospital. On the way out, Bob approaches Sue and invites her for another escapade. Sue refuses, saying she's staying faithful to Aslam, whom she's now living with. After Bob drops Sue off at her house, Aslam attacks Sue, thinking that she was having sex with Bob.
Later at Bob's house, he and Rita are about to have sex, when Bob accidentally says Sue's name. Angry, Rita leaves to confront Sue. When she gets there, she finds Aslam attacking Sue. Defending her, Rita kicks him in the knees, and then Sue kicks him in his groin, disabling him enough for Sue and Rita to escape. They go back to Bob's house, where Rita tends to Sue's wounds, and Aslam shows up at Bob's door. They refuse to let him in, but Aslam tries to find a way to break in, all the while trying to convince Sue to come back to him. He almost gets in through the bay doors, but Rita runs and locks them. He tries to plead with Sue, threatening suicide if she doesn't come back and feigning injury. Sue is on the verge of giving in but the situation is interrupted by the arrival of the police, having been called by a neighbour. Aslam then runs off with police in pursuit.
When Bob returns home, Rita tells him that she is letting Sue move in with them. They go upstairs and Bob goes to get a bath. When he goes into the bedroom he finds both girls semi-naked in his bed and the film ends with him diving onto the bed.
- Siobhan Finneran as Rita
- Michelle Holmes as Sue
- George Costigan as Bob
- Lesley Sharp as Michelle
- Kulvinder Ghir as Aslam
- Willie Ross as Sue's father Kevin
- Danny O'Dea as Paddy
- Maureen Long as Rita's mother
- Patti Nichols as Sue's mother
|This section does not cite any references (sources). (June 2015)|
- Buttershaw – The Boulevard council estate – (Rita's house; Sue's flat).
- Baildon – (Bob & Michelle's house on Bramham Drive; moorland scenes).
- Haworth – (the school trip).
- Shipley – (the scene where the girls finish babysitting and are walking home past the garage).
- Bradford – Alexandra Street, just behind Rand Street (Great Horton, near the university), the house Sue moves to with Aslam. Luna Cabs (Leeds Road) where she works and meets him.
The film is rated R16 in New Zealand for offensive language and sex scenes.
- Sheila Benson (25 April 1993). "Two Attempts at Social Comment Hit The Mark". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Liam Allen (22 October 2010). "The Arbor: In the footsteps of Rita, Sue and Bob". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Janet Maslin (17 July 1987). "Film: Togetherness in 'Rita, Sue and Bob Too'". New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Sheila Benson (20 January 2011). "Movie Review : Love's Got Nothing To Do With 'Rita, Sue & Bob'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Sheila Benson (9 August 1987). "3 Savage Commentaries on the British Scene". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "'Rita, Sue and Bob, Too' (R)". Washingtonpost.com. 22 August 1987. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Rita, Sue & Bob, Too :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 2 October 1987. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Dave Kehr (2 October 1987). "`Rita` Captures The Spirit of England`s Other Side". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Internet Movie Database
- Rita, Sue and Bob Too at AllMovie
- Rita, Sue and Bob Too at Rotten Tomatoes
- British Film Institute Screen Online