Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

Director: Jeremy Brock
Writer: Jeremy Brock
Released: 2006
Featuring: Julie Walters, Rupert Grint, Laura Linney

Okay, so this film has been HUGELY underrated. Despite being aware that everybody has their right to their own opinion, I, as New Zealand’s official Freak of Film, would like to say:


Driving Lessons is a slower-than-usual paced film with a script as philosophical as Forrest Gump, but with humour as dry as Napoleon Dynamite (in some parts).

It’s about a boy named Ben (the gorgeous Rupert Grint… He’s so cool… *sigh*) who is born into a devoted Christian family, which becomes an oppressive and controlled lifestyle that batters Ben down into an emotionally-absent teenager.

Until he meets Evie.

Ben and Evie

This film has my favourite actress, Julie Walters playing an eccentric elderly woman named Evie who has been “…married and divorced three times. Once to an actor, once to an English Lord and once to a Californian” and is far from the ‘saved’ friends Ben usually acquaints himself with.

She shows him the ropes of life – with the moral being more-or-less that you can learn about how the world should be and the theory of how life works, but you don’t know a thing until you LIVE it.

She has had such a colourful life and is so liberal, which influences Ben to shake the strong reliance his controlling mother (Laura Linney) has over him.

I LOVE Walter’s interpretation of Evie who is a filthy-mouthed but very warm woman who anybody would wish was their nan in real life!


Laura and Ben

Ben’s mother, Laura Marshall, was played incredibly well by Linney who showed the character to be an insecure and controlling woman who appears almost like a puppeteer behind the mask of a wholesome church-goer. Laura Linney does such a great job, you begin to dislike the character very quickly!

The religious undertone isn’t something that should put non-religious watchers off, as it is an approach that is refreshing and open-minded. The story does very well keeping a non-bias view of beliefs, that do not suffocate the plot with pre-set ideas.

I have got the soundtrack which I absolutely enjoy! However, a few more like Ben Fold’s song “Jesusland” would have been cool.

I can’t help wondering what a TOTALLY different film this would have been if the old woman was an old man and the young boy was a young girl. Even if the plot remained the same… Just found that peculiar…

This is a film that is deep enough to watch repeatedly, yet, light enough for a social viewing. The humour is fantastic and Rupert Grint shows his versatility. A must see!

Jodie’s rating: 8/10

Fave line:

“Evie, you’re in the middle of nowhere.”
“Then I shall cling to the edge of somewhere!”

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
This entry was posted in All Film Reviews, coming of age, drama, Editor's Pick and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Driving Lessons

  1. Popeye says:

    I saw this film once. Missed the start of it, but thoroughly enjoyed what I caught. Is it on DVD? Doubt it.

    Cheers Connie!

  2. Wow.. this article is bad. I appreciate your effort in collecting these articles but c’mon. We want content. Not another “photoshop killer techniques every designer needs to know”-list. At least you could point out really useful or innovative stuff (lichtenstein, vintage, etc. is not innovative).

    • nzfilmfreak says:

      Yeah, thank you for your comment but I take a more casual approach to film review. I am not a filmmaker, I’m a film watcher. So I write short reviews for people who want to know of some great films and why they are enjoyable, as well as a few films to not waste their money on. To keep it short and sweet I have to skim a little which may be the ‘lists’ you refer to. However, I will work on putting more in depth content in my blogs.

      Perhaps you could write some really useful and innovative things about the Driving Lessons film on your blog. :)

      Thanks for your comment.

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