Having a mother who is a devout evangelical who takes in borders with the hopes of turning their lives around puts a lot of pressure on a teenage boy. Laura Marshall (Laura Linney – The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Breach) brings home odd creatures such as an older man (Jim Norton – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, American History X) who likes to dress in her clothes in the hopes of reforming them. As devout as she is to her evangelism is how strict she is with her son Ben (Rupert Grint – Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Ben is a quiet and shy boy who enjoys writing poetry and is looking forward to the potential freedom getting his driver's license will grant him. Unfortunately his mother has got it in her head that she should teach Ben and the way she teaches him is by driving the car herself.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that she keeps Ben completely under her thumb, Laura encourages Ben to find a part time job in order to help out with money around the house. He takes on a job helping and elderly woman named Evie Walton (Julie Walters – Billy Elliot, Calendar Girls). Evie is a retired actress and to say that she is unlike anyone Ben has ever met before is an understatement. She begins to show Ben a world he never thought possible one step at a time. And Evie begins all this by tricking him into driving her to Edinburgh.
As disturbed that Ben is by his mother and her odd ways is as 'disturbed' I was watching young Ron Weasley have sex onscreen. Well, not Ron Weasley, but the actor who portrays him. Kind of odd to say the least. Or is it odd to be disturbed by this at all? No matter. What the film boils down to in the end is a message of being yourself. Now this has been done ad naseum in film, but never in such a quirky and unique way. We've all also seen many coming-of-age films but again director Jeremy Brock (first film) does in a fresh way. It is a generally understated film (the type that the British are so good at) that quietly sneaks up on you and sucks you in. Before you realize it you are completely involved and don't want it to end. At first you think that it is going to be a superficial comedy, but it turns out to be so much more. It is rescued from this forgettable gray area by the wonderful acting, a solid script and good directing. A solid film on all counts!
-The Making Of Driving Lessons
-Previews of Offside, The Italian, Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles, House of Flying Daggers, Riding Giants, and Dogtown and Z-Boys