Driving Lessons - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Driving Lessons Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2009
CAST: Rupert Grint, Julie Walters, Laura Linney, Nicholos Farrell, Oliver Miburn

DIRECTED BY: Jeremy Brock

SUMMARY: A coming of age story about a shy teenage boy trying to escape from the influence of his domineering mother. His world changes when he begins to work for a retired actress.

MY THOUGHTS: It was exactly what I was hoping for. An offbeat dark comedy. Light on the darkness though. Julie Walters was brilliant in this movie. She's so funny in this film. First time seeing Rupert Grint in a film besides the Potter one's. He did good in this film. He plays a very shy boy but aged with a poets soul. Just wanted to watch a movie that would make me genuinely laugh without trying to hard, and this film did it for me. Fun movie with some serious stuff going on in it as well. His mother is a bit insane. My opinion, but I don't think many will disagree with that comment. But all in all, a good watch. See it if you get a chance.
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2009
very charming! rupert grint comin into his own. Julie Walters was GREAT!
Super Reviewer
½ January 20, 2008
Didn't quite go where I thought it would, but it was a good movie. Laura Linney plays the type of mother you would want to strangle to Ruper Grint, also good as a sheltered, shy teen who goes to work for Julie Walters's character who is either eccentric or a bit crazy. Some of it wasn't quite believable, like the girl he picks up (or other way round, to be more exact), but this mostly works and is a good coming of age film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2008
Because I would very much like to see Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe succeed in their acting work beyond the wonderful Harry Potter movies, I wanted very badly to see this. But because Laura Linney is a part of the project, I didn't exactly fire this one up my netflix queue. It finally did bubble to the top, and I've watched this now three times with great interest. The good news is that Linney does not appear throughout. In fact screen time is so dominated by the relationship between Grint and Julie Walters that Linney fairly fades into the background, appearing only in the bookend (dismal) home life scenes for Grint. The better news is that Linney plays quite a villainous role; she's perfect for that kind of work. The best news, however, is that Grint does manange to do a good job of playing the repressed 17-year-old coming of age under the apt tutelage of masterfully has-been actress Walters. Their relationship is a thing of intricately problematic beauty, and both play their parts with brilliant authenticity. You know, it's funny watching "Ron and Mrs. Weasley" function in a different arena. It is as if Grint, in this gem of a film, is living under the stairs on horrid Privet Drive and is trying to find his way to the wholesome environs of The Burrow. I am feeling optimistic about Grint's chances to go on and do good work once the HP franchise has run its course. Last but certainly not least: Whoohoo! I want to see more of Michelle Duncan. Makes me want to jump on a plane for Scotland : )
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2008
Driving Lessons is a lovely film from over the pond in the UK.

Julie Walters, Laura Linney, and Rupert Grint all shine in this film. This film centers on a young man (Grint) whom is coming of age and working towards his drivers license. His controlling mother (Linney) can not let go and only wants the best for him. During this time he gets a job from a once very big actress (Walters) whom really gets his eyes open to the world....it is funny and poigniant, very worth watching.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2007
Shoddy amalgam of "Harold and Maude" and "Lost in Translation." In re the former: it lacked the romantic relationship between young and old, thereby omitting an entire dimension of their best friendship, replacing it with an unsatisfying age-appropriate one-night stand and a generally unbelievable character arc. In re the latter: it lacked the leisurely pacing that begot a certain ephemeral atmosphere in LiT, and was merely slow and sluggish.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2006
thank God i didn't give up on this movie, because at the beginning it was really boring and i almost take it out of my dvd player, but i decided to hang in there and boy, am i proud of that decision! this lovely film suddenly turned in one of my favorite movies ever, combining a brilliant script with great actors, photography, soundtrack, with a mixture of drama and comedy that you should NOT miss, Rupert Grint and Julie Walters have great chemistry, and it shows in this movie, cause in the Harry Potter movies you can't really see it...great performances by these two english actors, and also by Laura Linney!
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Driving Lessons" starts with Ben(Rupert Grint) failing his driving test in spectacular fashion. His father(Nicholas Farrell) is the local minister and his mother(Laura Linney) is involved in various charitable projects including giving shelter to a local man, Mr. Fincham(Jim Norton). In order to further help him get on his feet, she asks Ben to get a job which he does assisting an eccentric and selfish actress, Evie(Julie Walters). The job goes well and Evie asks Ben to go camping with her...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Driving Lessons" is a hideously awful movie full of thinly drawn caricatures(I'm sure all actors are not performing all the time) and proves that even Laura Linney can give a bad performance. The movie desperately tries to be entertaining but only a few moments shine through. It is nice seeing Julie Walters in anything but not when she is trying to be Ruth Gordon.(But give Walters this much. She does know how to make an entrance.) In fact, this resembles a mishmash of every coming of age movie ever made, most specifically "Harold and Maude" but without that movie's nerve, so why bother? [/font]
Super Reviewer
½ July 3, 2007
I liked how Rupert Grint acted in this movie. A very cool independent film on his part.
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2007
The only movie to feature a Harry Potter member out of their Hogwarts role, and Rupert is a bit of a revelation. Parts of this are really funny, the rest is really charming.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2006
Rarely cloying yet unusually graceless.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2014
It's nice to see Walters and Grint have more screen time than their Potter films and they work well off each other but the whole film is too calculated and Linney's annoying character doesn't get the comeuppance she deserves. Walters is on the verge of hamming the whole thing up but pulls it back enough at certain times to remind you how great she can be with the right material. Unfortunately this isn't it. Lightweight British comedy (?) fare.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2007
Julie Walters and Rupert Grint have a great chemistry together and this movie is funny touching.
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2008
Soooo funny. Julie Walters is fantastic - she absolutely kills in this.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2007
Hilarious! Great movie.
February 15, 2010
The general story reminded me a lot of Harold And Maude, but this is a movie of a lesser quality. Julie Walters has quite the foul mouth, which really turned me off. I also found it boring, although I have a hard time finding interest in most independent British films. (First and only viewing - In my mid-twenties)
½ February 1, 2012
A nice coming of age movie. I thought at first I wouldn't be able to look past he whole 'magic' thing but after a while I just didn't even notice really who it was. The story was good, and it is a bit preachy in the beginning but it was worth the watch.
March 15, 2011
Julie Walters as Eve was a treasure to see in this film, but Rupert Grint was hard to take my eyes off. This film has a leisurely pace, tongue-in-cheek humor and lovely performances, but it gave Rupert little room to maneuver. Which was fine, because I know what lies below the surface. And what a very nice surface it is, too!
The movie is worth watching on its own merit, but the eye candy is nice to see, also.
August 24, 2008
A cute coming of age movie. It is interesting to see fanatical religious people in other countries besides the US...
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