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Half measured coming of age film that squanders it;s few fine performances.
charming coming of age story
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.
Julie Walters is always good! A fun Friday night watch!!
UK. Cute! Rupert Grint and Julie Walters (both from Harry Potter films).
Moving and sweet movie
The movie Driving Lessons directed by Jeremy Brock, is a great coming of age story for a young teenage boy named Ben who is played by Rubert Grint. It is mixed with drama and dry humor. You have to have a certain taste in movies to enjoy this film.
In the beginning of the film it starts with what you except, Ben driving in a student driver vehicle. Then it takes a complete 180 and most of the film is about Bens struggles in life with his crazy mom that is a religious vanadic, him being shy and awkward around people at school, and him trying to find his purpose in life. The way Jeremy makes Bens mom be such a religious vanadic makes me as the audience think that she is the main reason why Ben is the way he is.
The acting in some parts of this movie is complete crap. For example whenever they gather around the dinner table and discussed how their day was or what the upcoming events are for the family it seemed like the acting just did not flow. They forced the emotion and the words out of their mouths like they had to because they are getting paid for it. Also at the dinner table that is when I noticed that the mom wore the pants in the family. The father did not really have any input on what is best for Ben and basically kept his mouth shut.
Now there are some good parts of this movie don't get me wrong. When Ben takes the job to take care of Eve Walton whom in this movie is a retired actress, Ben starts to take a little risk in his life. Eve opens up his view on life to not just getting by but being spontaneous and living a little. You start to see a change in Ben after taking care of Eve. It comes clear that he is at a cross roads in his life. The life of a crazy religious fool like his mom or to be his own person and stand up for himself and do what he loves, which is writing poetry in this film.
Ben comes to his decision by the end of the movie obviously and of course it is the typical stand up to your crazy mom and do your own thing decision. His dad also grew some confidence and asked for a divorce after that insane mom gets hit by a car drove by some random guy that they took in to their home. Honestly this movie is terrible and I would not recommend anyone to watch it unless they had to for a class. You will never get that hour and thirty eight minutes back in your life do not bother with this film. Unless you enjoy terrible acting, religious vanadic being a center roll in the plot, and annoying English accents.
Directed by Jeremy Brock, Driving lessons is an unofficial story of how influential the people in your life can be. Playing the lead role of a teenage boy named Ben is Rupert Grint. It starts out with Ben taking his driving test and failing, again. He asks his mother if he could have someone else tech him how to drive, considering she was only teaching him with her own experience. Playing Laura, his mother, is Laura Linney, who comes across as very strict and heavy handed on her only son. She holds him at extremely high standards and pushes him to participate in church events and charity events whether he wants to or not. When she takes in a needy stranger, she even guilts him into getting a job to help the stranger out. Now Ben has to find a job on foot because his mother is more focused on a handsome gentleman from the church, than teaching her son to drive.
He finds a job offering from an old actress named Evie Walton played by Julie Walters. She seems to need help with her garden and keeping up with the house. While working for Evie he finds that she hired him mainly because she is a very lonely woman and needs some company. She asks him to read through old scripts and recite plays with her, and thus, strengthening Bens love of poetry. Ben had no one to share this with as everyone thought it was odd and maybe a little bit homosexual. However, Evie understood and would listen to his poems and share some of her own. Ben grew close to this eccentric actress just as fast as his mother grew further away from him. Laura did not believe that Evie was a good influence on her son, but it turns out that she is the exact opposite. She taught him how to be outgoing and adventurous, as any seventeen year old boy should be. She gave him the gumption to ask out the girl he likes and eventually lose his virginity to her.
Jeremey Brock hit the nail right on the head with the cast. Julie Walters has a wonderfully perfect personality for the part of an eccentric actress because she happens to actually be an eccentric actress. Anyone watching the film could tell that she enjoys herself in this movie and loves what she does. I believe that is extremely important to any film's success. Rupert Grint is also magnetic to the camera. He has an on-set personality and really captures the character's spirit. Also, due to the hit-series Harry Potter, Grint and Walters had a previous on screen relationship as mother and son. The series that spanned most of Grint's life, was shared with Walters and it is visible in this film. Laura Linney as the conservative sheltering mother was on key with the rhythm of the film. Linney provided a religious yet sinful experience as she ventures onto other men in the church. She added special touches that cannot be scripted or directed. She played a wonderful motherly, yet un-motherly role and it meshed wonderfully with Grints confused, coming of age teenage boy accent in the film.Out of five stars, I would give Driving Lessons three and a half. It is a charming and cute movie and depicts the life of an average British teenager well. However, it was a bit predictable and cliché.
Jeremy Brock filmed a movie in 2006 called Driving Lessons. The film is about a young boy named Ben played by Rupert Grint who's life changed when he got a job working for an elderly Dame called Evie, acted by Julie Walters. Ben is a typical 17 year old who lives a life as a humble Christian boy living under his mother's high Christian laws and never knows when to stand up for himself. One of the things that Ben's mother really wants him to do is to get a job to financially help a mentally ill patient that she adopted into their home, and by doing this it will change Ben's life forever. Ben decides to become Evie Walton's paid companion in order to help. Being forced to go onto exciting camping trips and doing strange acting lessons has helped Ben see what he truly loves which is art and poetry. The film has a unique plot line, believable actors and life lesson shown through symbolism.
The plot line took a different approach on showing a boy growing up. There is the overly protective mother who "knows" what is best for Ben, but there is an added twist. This twist is Evie, she took Ben under her wing and taught him about the life of acting and how it can change a person. The scene where Ben is in Evie's backyard and she wants him to help recite line from old plays she used to be a part of was a great way of showing Ben stepping out of his element. By doing this Ben was able discovery who he is and not care of what the world thinks.
Besides the film's uniqueness of life lessons and dealing with the arts and poetry, Brock decided to pick two very well known and loved actors both from the popular movie Harry Potter. Both actors in this film had such a strong impact on their characters that not once did you ever have the sense of wizards and magic, instead the power of art and the love of friendship. In the scene when Evie and Ben are camping, Ben tells Evie one of his poems that he wrote for a girl that he loved. Evie saw the power and the sentiment behind Ben's words on the paper and wishes other people could understand it as well. She seems to be the only person who will listen to him because when he read his poem to the girl he loved, she just laughed at his face. In a way Ben's poetry is a symbol of Driving Lessons itself. The reason why is because you can tell that this film was not successful for everyone. Those who can read the fine print will appreciate the film just as Evie does with Ben's poems.
In Jeremy Brock's Driving Lessons, we watch a young man develop into a man who takes control of his own life. Ben Marshal is a seventeen year old timid and diffident boy whose life is restrained by his subduing and self-righteous mother. We all know Ben's actor as Ron Weasley from the famous Harry Potter movies, along with Julie Walters who plays Ron's mother, however, in this movie we get to see her play Dame Evie Walton, an eccentric, quirky character. Ben comes in contact with Evie when he's looking for a part time job and he sees her ad in the newspaper about searching to hire an assistant. Pulled between his mother's over bearing rules and Evie's demanding personality, we see him unravel and take on a series of events that transform his character.
The movies portrayal of the monotonous and banal life that the Marshals' live pulls us into feeling that same constricted, stifling feeling that we see Ben suffer with. Laura Linney who plays Laura Marshall, Ben's mother, does a superb job in inciting feelings of irritation at her character in a unique way. She busies herself with extensive charity work and religious duties, while emotionally bullying her son into doing the same. While doing so, she deprives him of privileges that youngsters his age enjoy. She forces him to play a Eucalypt tree in the Church play about Jesus, which embarrasses him and demeans him. Evie on the other hand, takes him, forcefully at first, to camping trips that his mother forbade him to go on. They engage in conversations about poetry where she encourages his poetic capabilities and his love for English. He then goes on to engage in the very acts his mother forbade him from.
The main actors certainly do play their characters superbly, however, they are smothered by the broken plot. In retrospect, the plot is cliché and over used. That seems particularly evident to the director himself because of his attempts at thickening the plot by adding random outbursts of confusing events. For example, at the end of the movie when Mr. Fincham dresses as a woman and hits Laura with the car, we are left in bewilderment and perplexity attempting to figure out the cause of this. Such things leave large holes in the plot that can deter the audience away from the main scene..
In the end, the movie itself barely grossed $240,000 in the cinemas. Overall, it's evident that the movie was a weak one, and that the only thing that barely held it from falling off the cliff were the actors performances. It's undeniable, that at some points, it was interesting to see the way Rupert and Julie's characters bounced off each other, and in some aspects intertwined with each other. If the director's main aim was, primarily, to leave the audience to fill the holes in with their own imagination, then he has succeeded.