Seventeen-year old Ben (Rupert Grint) is terribly shy and has withdrawn from his overbearing mother (Laura Linney) and reclusive father. He goes to work for a washed-up, eccentric actress (Julie Walters) and gets caught up in her world when she takes him on a trip that promises some life-changing lessons for both of them.
This coming-of-age story misses the mark because I didn't believe the boy would change because of anything that happened. He does go through some overly-dramatic events with a loud and self-centered old woman, but he remains a bystander, and a baffled one at that. The movie has an amateurish feel to it despite the talented Walters and Linney; they both resort to shouting and overacting and come across as unsympathetic women who don't see the error of their ways. Unfortunately, Rupert Grint ("Ron" in the Harry Potter movies) doesn't show much range as an actor; he gives a sluggish, lazy performance. The script doesn't touch the heart and I didn't care about any of the characters. Disappointing.
Pros: Julie Walters and some moments of fun in the film Cons: Ms. Linney and a general lack of control of the story as a whole The Bottom Line: Only Julie Walters shines, and her star isn't bright enough to rescue this film from even just the shallow end of mediocrity Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I think, after just shy of 300 reviews (the … more
DRIVING LESSONS is a little film that sneaks up on you. What at first seems to be a bit of fluffy nonsense comedy British style is at its base a very fine story about coming of age and the needs for significant friendship of both the young and the elderly. Writer Jeremy Brock ('Mrs. Brown', 'Charlotte Gray', 'The Last King of Scotland') here directs his own screenplay and the result is a cohesive, progressively involving tale filled with fascinating and diverse characters, each performed by sterling … more
With his orange-colored bowl haircut and freckled cheeks, actor Rupert Grint (known by millions of pre-teens as Harry Potter's cinematic sidekick) is perfectly cast as Ben, an awkward teenage boy whose reticence almost trespasses into total muteness. After a lifetime of being reined in by his overbearing, deeply religious mother (the always spot-on Laura Linney), Ben enters into the social world via his job as assistant to one spitfire of a diva, the washed-up actress Eve Walton (the inimitable Julie Walters of EDUCATING RITA fame). Walton, unable to accept the disintegration of her once-lauded career, chews up the scenery with her theatrics, culled from both plays of her past (think Shakespeare soliloquizing on cue) and creations of her imagination (she constantly invents stories to tell Ben, forgetting them only hours later). Yet it is exactly this overdramatic flair for life that awakens something in the actress's repressed assistant, and, for the first time, Ben begins to assert himself and his ideas...