Rita Sue and Bob Too 1987


The consideration of sexual activity is somewhat rare in British cinema; it’s not usually part of the stiff upper lip mentality. Director Alan Clarke has scored a series of notable successes with small-screen plays before he took on this consideration of free-spirited lust in a UK council estate, with Michelle Holmes and Siobhan Fineran as Rita and Sue, who teenage girls who engage in a Jules et Jim relationship with married man Bob (George Costigan) against a background of urban Bradford in the 1980’s. The marketing might suggest a Confessions of a Window Cleaner romp, but Clarke is a far more thoughtful director, and delves deep into the motivations of the trio, with a typically strong performance from the perennially under-rated Costigan. This film was written by Andrea Dunbar, whose own tragic lifestyle was portrayed in Clio Barnard’s docu-drama The Arbor, which gives some insight into this talented woman’s short, chaotic life.


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