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Rita, Sue And Bob, Too (1987, Siobhan Finneran, Michelle Holmes)

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Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a bawdy comedy adapted by Andrea Dunbar from her successful stage show. Set on location on the Bradford housing estate where Dunbar grew up, this controversial film tells the hard, unsentimental story of two 15-year-old girls.

With the end of their schooldays in sight, Bradford teenagers Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and Sue (Michelle Holmes) are on the lookout for new experiences. Once or twice a week, they babysit for Bob (George Costigan) and Michelle (Lesley Sharp), a couple whose sexual problems are jeopardising their marriage. Accustomed to rougher approaches from boys on the Buttershaw Estate, the girls are impressed by Bob’s good looks, flashy car and the suburban neatness in which he lives.

When he makes a detour one summer’s night while driving them home, they are more than ready to fall in with his suggestions for having sex. At first their three-way relationship is a bit of a laugh, but parents and neighbours are quick to point the finger and an evening in a local club brings the affair out into the open.

Michelle, fed up with Bob’s lies and infidelities, takes the battle to the girls’ parents, an unequal contest which has disastrous results. When she storms out of the house, Bob has no hesitation in asking Rita to move in with him, leaving Sue, who is equally desperate to get away from home, with no alternative but to take up with Aslam (Kulvinder Ghir). Unable to adjust to a different culture, she responds half-heartedly to the Asian boy’s affection while Rita and Bob settle into their new routine.

It takes a miscarriage for Rita to bring the girls together again, secure in a friendship that will outlast these, and future lovers.

production details
UK | 90 minutes | 1987

Director: Alan Clarke
Script: Andrea Dunbar,

cast
George Costigan as Bob
Lesley Sharp as Michelle
Siobhan Finneran as Rita
Michelle Holmes as Sue
Willie Ross as Sue’s Father
Kulvinder Ghir as Aslam
Danny O’Dea as Paddy
Maureen Long as Rita’s Mother
Patti Nicholls as Sue’s Mother
Joyce Pembroke as Lawnmower Lil
Bernard Wrigley as Teacher
Jane Atkinson as Helen
Bryan Heeley as Michael
Paul Oldham as Lee
David Britton as Rita’s Brother
Stuart Goodwin as Rita’s Brother

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