Driving Lessons

2006

Driving Lessons

Critics Consensus

Though it has charm, Driving Lessons is a middling offering in the genre where the youngster coming of age meets a quirky senior who teaches valuable lessons about life.

48%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 75

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 194,281
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Movie Info

Two strong-willed women wield their influence on a shy teenaged boy in this coming-of-age comedy from the United Kingdom. Seventeen-year-old Ben (Rupert Grint) is the son of a soft-spoken vicar (Nicholas Farrell), but it's his mother, Laura (Laura Linney), who rules the household, and she has put Ben cheerfully under her thumb, keeping him busy with a variety of good-will errands for the church and numerous local charity causes. With summer vacation looming before him, Ben is looking forward to learning to drive, but Laura is more interested in spending time with one of the more charming members of the church staff than helping Ben learn how to operate the family automobile. Wanting to earn some pocket money, Ben starts looking for a part-time job and ends up working for Evie Walton (Julie Walters), an elderly and slightly eccentric actress who needs help keeping her garden in shape. Laura believes Evie isn't an especially good influence on her son, though Ben is happy to find someone who encourages his interest in poetry and the larger world (especially girls). One day, Evie announces that she needs to ride to Edinburgh, where she is supposed to give a reading as part of the city's massive music and arts festival. While Ben doesn't have his license, he volunteers to take the wheel, and soon he's confronted with various forms of decadence that his mother has frequently warned him to avoid. Driving Lessons received its North American premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Cast

Laura Linney
as Laura Marshall
Julie Walters
as Evie Walton
Rupert Grint
as Ben Marshall
Rose Keegan
as Emma Pagent
John Yule
as Manager
Faye Cohen
as Old Lady
Jordan Young
as Receptionist
Annabelle
as Trendy Mum
Ruby Mortlock
as Old Lady
Nicholas Farrell
as Robert Marshall
Jim Norton
as Mr. Fincham
Ricky Champ
as Tough Looking Man
Harriet Brock
as Child at Campsite
Rita Davies
as Mrs. Robottom
Surinder Duhra
as Driving Inspector
James Brock
as Child at Campsite
Stanley Brock
as Child at Campsite
Iain McColl
as Policeman
Annabelle Apsion
as Trendy Mum
View All

News & Interviews for Driving Lessons

Critic Reviews for Driving Lessons

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (39)

  • Brock subscribes to the new school of British Imperialism: crafting cozy little trifles that conquer foreigners with preciousness.

    Jul 2, 2009 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • Writer-director Jeremy Brock has backloaded much of the hero's family conflict into the final scenes, which collapse under the weight.

    Dec 18, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Driving Lessons is a poignant miniature that offers [Julie] Walters a chance to be typically wonderful - saucy but deep - and [Rupert] Grint to stretch quite commendably.

    Dec 8, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • Barely worth the trip.

    Nov 17, 2006 | Rating: 2/5
  • It's an exercise in calculated high-quirk in which the most egregious forms of stereotyping -- particularly along gender and religious lines -- attempt to pass for 'human' behaviour.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • [Brock] sticks to the inspirational formula of contemporary English sentimental comedies: that real life has little relevance.

    Nov 10, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Driving Lessons

  • Sep 05, 2014
    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.
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2011
    An interesting British movie about one boy and his struggle with his overly religious family. He finds refuge with an elderly woman who teaches him all about life and how to live it. Featuring a great performance by Julie Walters this is a film that starts off slow but captures you and has you hooked by the end.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2009
    Great movie but I didnt care to much for the ending
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2009
    very charming! rupert grint comin into his own. Julie Walters was GREAT!
    Morgan S Super Reviewer

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