To answer the question whether or not Willy Russell actually wrote a love story as he intended to do, I consider certain aspects. I find two totally different main characters in Frank and Rita and therefore will be dealing with completely different ways of behaviour and reaction. By interpreting their statements and actions it might be possible to find some kind of conclusion.
To begin with it is possible to say that Educating Rita does not seem to be a love story in a common sense. Nevertheless there are signs that Frank becomes more and more interested in Rita and her fate. She has got a refreshing effect on him, which is caused by her naivety, enthusiasm and very own way of talking about and experiencing literature. In act 1, scene 2 he tells her how ...view middle of the document...
But Rita is much more concerned about her Macbeth essay and is rather interested in Frank´s opinion on it than in anything else. What she expects from Frank is criticism and support, whereas he wants to be allowed in taking part in her life. This scene already shows how different their intentions are.
Other signs of Frank´s feelings towards Rita are given in scene 2 of act . She has been late for the lesson and Frank realizes that she changed her way of talking, is trying to talk and act in a more sophisticated manner. He is shocked by this development. There is also a touch of jealousy in this scene. Rita has been telling him about her conversation with other students particularly with one of them named Tyson/Tiger.
Frank: "Is there any point in working towards an examination if you are going to fall in love. (...) All right, but please stop burbling on about Mr Tyson."
Another time he is deeply hurt when he finds out that Rita had changed her job without having told him anything about it (Act 2, Scene 4).
How much he really feels for her becomes clear when he asks her to accompany him on his way to Australia. But Rita has already got her own ideas and plans and is ready to start her new life.
Is "Educating Rita" a love story?
For a start there are elements of love, undoubtedly. Certainly on Frank´s side, but there do not seem to be any on Rita´s side. Two different people with different lives and expectations. Two people that are about to start their life new. They have exchanged things between one another and now they are ready to go separate ways.
Probably it is not so much of a love story, but a story about hope, a new beginning including emotional aspects and the meeting two different worlds.