Regardless of where you grew up in, you will agree with anyone that teen adolescence was or is the most memorable period in your life. Whether your memories be good, bad or a mixture of both, it was marked with your numerous experiences that molded you into the individual you turned into; making those years the most significant to you of all.
In the British comedy - drama Driving Lessons, I enjoyed seeing that growing up as a teenager in Britain is as awkward, critical and hilarious as it is everywhere else.
The film revolves around the life of Ben Marshall (played by Rupert Grint): a shy, quiet and introverted boy who, in the film, was going through the motions of being an average teen; such as crashing the car of his driving instructor during his liscensure exam and getting shot down by his crush, played by the beautiful Tamsin Egerton, after reading to her an intense and amusing poem he wrote about her while walking her from a bible study in the beginning of the film.
As ignorant as this may sound to you, I was surprised to discover that Christianity is alive and well in Britain, as it was represented in the film. On that note, Driving Lessons used the religion as a lynch pin to connect the rest of the cast to Rupert Grint's character.
You see, Ben was the child of Robert and Laura Marshall (played by Nicholas Farrel and Laura Linney): a pastor and a pastor's wife whose strained and estranged marriage sent their lives along with Ben's awry.
A genuinely good father and man of the cloth, Robert was literally rendered a prisoner in his own home by his domineering, cookie - cutter and religiously fanatical wife Laura who secretly engaged in an illicit affair with a young and virile pastor named Peter (played by Oliver Milburn).
On an irrational whim, Laura decided to turn her home into a halfway house for senior citizens. If that wasn't bad enough, she coerced Ben to take part in her cause by making him find a summer job. She made him do so in order for her to take his earnings to be given to those she took care of.
Left with no say in the matter, Ben found a job as an assistant to Evie Walton (played by Julie Walters): a kooky, capricious and eccentric old retired actress who lived alone.
As Evie's companion, Ben's life was turned topsy - turvey. During the time Ben worked for her, he and Evie went on quite a few zany adventures. The most memorable of their escapades was an untimely and whimsically absurd camping excursion that turned into a full blown road trip after Evie prodded the initially unyielding Ben to take her to a festival in Edinburgh where she was invited to read a few literary pieces.
It was during the said road trip that Ben gained the life experiences which his mother had so selfishly kept him from. Aside from that, he and Evie finally came to terms with how much they did indeed liked and needed each other.
When their friendship grew noticebly deeper, Laura attempted to drive Ben and Evie apart. But whether how hard she tried, her efforts came to naught once Ben finally put his foot down in defiance of Laura, making the movie end in Laura getting sent to the hospital after being intentionally run over by a car, Robert finally divorcing her and Ben and Evie ceremoniously going their separate ways.
To begin with, I don;'t really have much to say about this film technically. The cinematography was okey and the progression was cohesive enough. Personally, I really liked its soundtrack, which I felt was chosen well and suited the film splendidly. Aside from that, I really liked the way the director, Jeremy Brock, depicted Britain with lush, green fields along with picturesque hills and mountainsides.
What I really liked about this film was the storyline. Although it started out awkwardly, the plot was able to grab the viewer's interest early into the movie once the story went linear. I don't know about the other critics, but I really liked the director's treatment of this film's core premises, combining the plot's drama and comedy facets into a well - balanced whole which framed well the underlying moral and social issues he chose to exemplify. Moreover, the friendship between Rupert Grint and Julie Walters characters really appealed to me and was fleshed out by the two in a genuine and believable manner.
The only thing that I didn't like about this film was the dull performances by majority of the cast. If it wasn't for Julie Walters, whose brilliant acting made her shine in every scene she was in, this movie would've definitely suffered. Aside from that, I feel that not all movie goers will be able to relate to this movie.
Non the less, I still enjoyed this movie immensely and highly recommend it.