Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An intensely personal rites of passage story about the influence that an older actress has on an awkward young teenager, the son of a vicar, when he goes to work as her assistant. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. With the aid of a charmingly offbeat story and a jolly good dialect coach, the stars leave you thinking, well done. Their spirited performances help cover up glaring holes in the plot.
  2. The screwball aging diva genre isn't the only formula guiding this stubbornly old-fashioned movie. Driving Lessons belongs to the silly feel-good mode of "The Full Monty," "Calendar Girls," "Billy Elliot," "Kinky Boots" and dozens of other celebrations of Britons defying convention to become "free," whatever that means.
  3. 70
    While Driving Lessons' writer-director, Jeremy Brock, sticks to the all-too-familiar template of such tales, he's given Walters her best role since "Educating Rita." Hamming it up with the precision of a master, she makes this somewhat plodding film a pleasure, as does young Grint.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Linney's character is written as a one-dimensional monster whose selfish cruelty is beyond redemption and, ultimately, belief.
  5. Aiming for wacky and heartwarming, the film is, at its sporadic best, a mildly diverting coming-of-age story. At its worst, it feels forced.
  6. 50
    Everybody in the movie is so tightly wound that Walters seems a model of actorly limberness. She cuts through the movie with speed and mannish, zany wit.
  7. 40
    Because screenwriter-director Brock fails to create a moving relationship between its mentor and student in life's lessons, the film hardly resonates five minutes after it's over.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. LesleyY.
    Dec 3, 2006
    I have seen this film numerous times, and while the US version is still good, it's highly lacking in the fact that the swear words were dubbed. That said, the film is highly underrated by critics in that they can't seem to get past the fact that conceptually, it's been done before. Yes, we know that the road-trip has been done, we know the parallels to Harold and Maude, we know, we know, we know. What the critics are overlooking is one of the hardest things to do with a film, that Brock has managed to execute immculately: deep, intimate character development with very little blatant exposition. It gives its audience a lot of credit, showing us the characters and allowing us to realise who they are instead of shoving their attributes down our throats. Definitely of note are the performances by the actors and actresses, all able to pull off Brock's vision of characterisation flawlessly. Laura Linney was perfect, just the right blend of totally out-there crazy and believably broken; Julie Walters shone in her best role since Billy Elliot. And then there's Rupert Grint. This kid is so beyond Potter. His ability to get into the head of the character of Ben, and to show that to us in such an honest and unpretentious way, had me seeing stars. Both he and Walters deserve Oscar nods for this work. The movie is heavy, but not heavy-handed; it's light without being trite. (No, the rhyme was not intentional.) Go see it. You'll be glad you did. Collapse
  2. CraigB.
    Oct 31, 2006
    A great ride. Hop aboard, really!
  3. AidaA.
    Oct 9, 2006
    This movie is soooo great! Rupert Grint (the love of my life awww) captures the audience with his charm and peculiar acting! It leads us to see how teenage life can be so complex and strange and how we can take it, just like Ben did. Julie is a master! Luv her! Also Laura Linney. In few words a spectacular movie. Expand
  4. MarcusP.
    Nov 17, 2006
    In my opinion, this is one of those movies that only comes around once about every 5 years or so. It is definately a movie that I have added to my top ten list of all time. I pray that this movie, JULIE WALTERS, or RUBERT GRINT (from the Harry Potter movies) don't get overlooked for an Oscar nomination. Expand
  5. SydneyR.
    Jul 20, 2007
    In about the first third of the movie, Grint's character has very little lines. He portrays his emotions very well without words. But not in a very obvious and blunt way. It's over all a really cute story even if it's been done before. Expand
  6. a
    Jul 9, 2007
    Average film - Grint stumbles awkwardly through the film while Walters shines.
  7. JohnM.
    Jul 7, 2007
    Good idea and good cast, but poorly implemented. Disjointed and frankly just not interesting to watch, comedically or dramatically