Sunday, January 13, 2008

Driving Lessons, a Film by Jeremy Brock

Bonnie brought home another great movie of which I had no knowledge, Driving Lessons. It stars Rupert Grint, who everyone will recognize as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. It is a contemporary story of a shy young man, pressed by his mother to get a job, who becomes the daytime companion for a retired actress. The film was written and directed by Jeremy Brock, who was one of the screenwriters of The Last King of Scotland. Scotland is about the only thing the films have in common, as Driving Lessons is very funny.

I do not want to give away too much about the movie, but I do want to encourage you to see it. One reason to do so is the great cast.

Rupert Grint does a great job as Ben Marshall. To date, he has not gotten many roles other than Ron Weasley. Perhaps he is being selective, and, if so, he has chosen very well. This film shows that the audience can forget his known role after five or ten minutes into the story.

Julie Walters is Dame Evie Walton, a retired British actress who needs someone to do chores and take her to appointments around London. Ironically, she is Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, but I did not recognize her. She is alternately sensible and outrageous.

Laura Linney is Laura Marshall, Ben's mother, who is teaching him to drive. She has many expectations for her son, and she takes her role as the vicar's wife a little too far. You may remember her from The Squid and the Whale and from The Truman Show.

Nicholas Farrell is the vicar, Robert Marshall. I have been a fan of his since he was Aubrey Montague, an aristocratic athlete in Chariots of Fire. He was also in The Jewel in the Crown, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, and many series shown on Masterpiece Theater and Mystery. In this film, he is as shy as his son.

Teens will like this movie, as it shows how hard it is to deal with crazy adults. It will also appeal to Harry Potter and Masterpiece Theater fans. I would further suggest the movie to people who enjoyed Harold and Maude. Like the old cult classic, it has a frustrated young man with an overbearing mother, and he becomes attached to a wild old lady.

According to Worldcat, 307 libraries own copies of the DVD of Driving Lessons. They should put it on display. It'll get snapped up.


Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said. It was a wonderful movie.

Anonymous said...

More agreement!
It's a charming movie - well worth watching.