Driving Lessons (15)
Time Out says
Tue Sep 5 2006Writer-director Jeremy Brock exploits his own backstory as a vicar’s son and one-time assistant to Dame Peggy Ashcroft for this amiable if slightly fumbled coming-of-age story. With his reserved clergyman father (Nicholas Farrell) and overbearing do-gooder of a mother (Laura Linney), it’s little wonder 17-year-old Ben (‘Harry Potter’ sidekick Rupert Grint) is a shy, poetry-writing type whose life is an ongoing round of church functions and unrequited longing. Unlikely salvation is at hand, however, when he replies to a help-wanted ad in the Christian press and finds himself companion and dogsbody for a dotty old actress (Julie Walters), who’s soon opening his sheltered consciousness to the glories of Shakespeare and sundry more worldly experiences – not least when she insists on him driving her to the Edinburgh festival for a poetry reading, even though he doesn’t have a licence…
Familiar fare, it has to be said, but the component parts are done reasonably well. Grint has a nice line in pained forbearance and looks a good young character actor; the repressively twee milieu is convincing; and Linney, despite struggling somewhat with the accent, brings a sly comedic touch to her uptight suburban hypocrisy. Walters, on the other hand, just straps in and blasts off. Subtle it ain’t, but those who like her doing her thing will definitely enjoy this. Indeed, it’s all trotting along happily enough until Brock has to engineer a final-reel confrontation between the rival women and makes a right hash of it. A shame, really, yet if this mild-mannered, slightly fusty, very British entertainment is easy to dismiss, it’s still stubbornly hard to dislike.
Author: Trevor Johnston
Fri Sep 8, 2006
Cast and crew
Rupert Grint, Nitin Chandra Ganatra, John Sturges, Richard Jordan, Iain Ballamy, Annabelle Huggins, Rupert Everett, George Rose, Julie Walters, Laura Linney, Oliver Milburn, Nicholas Farrell, RA Duncan, Jim Norton, Tamsin Egerton