Driving Lessons Reviews
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.
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.
[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]
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.
The movie is worth watching on its own merit, but the eye candy is nice to see, also.