Driving Lessons

Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" series) is the emotionally locked-in son of a Church of England minister, played by Nicholas Farrell (Horatio in Kenneth Branaugh's "Hamlet," "Amazing Grace" and "Twelfth Night" 1996) and his wife, played by Laura Linney ("The Savages," "The Squid and the Whale," "You Can Count on Me" and "Breach"). Of course, any criticism of a Christian-based church is an easy target these days and this is no exception. It is immediately obvious that Linney's character (with a passable British accent, by the way) is not as true blue as her family or the congregation might expect. Of course, with Oliver Milburn ("Me Without You" and "The Forsyte Saga" 2003) to offer temptation, one can scarcely blame her! Their trysts are covered up by the eponymous "driving lessons" which the mother gives the son, who in reality has to sit outside in the car, while Mom enjoys other diversions inside her lover's home.

Because he is seventeen ("...and a HALF!"), it is time he gets a job, so he finds a part-time gig with a semi-retired, second-rate actress, played by the wonderful Julie Walters ("Billy Elliot," "Calendar Girls" and "Educating Rita") who, by the way, is just wrapping her role as Meryl Streep's chum in this summer's musical, "Mamma Mia!" As a further aside, we will all have to make note of her physical well-being this summer, as her character in "Driving Lessons" has an unmistakable "dowager's hump" and I can only HOPE it is just her customarily thorough preparation for a role instead of a real symptom of osteoporosis.

The actress is shameless in the way she manipulates the young man into defying his mother no matter how much he objects. Over the course of a few months, she allows him the freedom to acknowledge hypocrisy and rebel against it. Watching the way she does it is the gist of the film. Both of the leads are wonderful and the supporting cast is flawless. There are nice shots of the British countryside and I loved the views of Edinburgh.

This is a nice film!