Driving Lessons is one of those movies that you catch on the independent film channel on a boring weekend. It keeps your interest because you notice Ron Weasley in a movie not involving a broom. But does this making Driving Lessons a good movie? No, not really.
In Driving Lessons, Ron Weasley plays a quirky kid named Ben with an even quirkier home life. His mom (Laura Linney) is overly religious yet does things God wouldn’t approve of. His dad is a vicar who seems more interested in birds then the word of God. Faced with a summer of doing nothing but learning to drive, Ron gets a job assisting a washed up actress named Evie (Julie Christie) and a friendship emerges.
Driving Lessons is like every other coming of age movie where a teenager befriends an older person. The movie is completely unoriginal and except for one clever twist, you can guess what happens. If you think that Ben and Evie learn about life from each other, then congratulations- you don’t have to see Driving Lessons.
That’s the problem with the movie. It’s inoffensive and is funny at times, but the whole movie’s been done before. Many times. Writer/director Jeremy Brock tries to make it fresh by trying to say some things about Christianity but it comes off as forced. Laura Linney and her fake British accent are wasted, as her subplot goes nowhere. Considering this was a low budget indie shot in England, I question why they even bothered using her.
I can’t recommend Driving Lessons, because one day flipping channels, you’ll see a movie exactly like Driving Lessons. And you won’t have to spend $10!
As an aside, Julie Walters also plays Ron Weasley’s mother in the Harry Potter movies. So essentially, the movie is a coming of age story where Ron Weasley befriends his mom. And that’s weird.