Driving Lessons (8.5/10) review

Driving Lessons (2006)
Tagline: A coming of age story about a shy teenage boy (Grint) trying to escape from the influence of his domineering mother (Linney). His world changes when he begins to work for a retired actress (Walters).

If anyone is wondering why I love British films so much, and why they are so great – go see Driving Lessons. I know why they are great, they seem to have an unlimited stock of great actors in this country. Rupert Grint (Ron from Harry Potter) and Julie Walters (the dancing teacher in Billy Elliot) are doing such a great job in this warm and sympathic story. I highly recommend it. And I wasn’t the only one liking it.

The thing that worries me a bit is this – suppose that I, in another life, would be a film maker, then this would be the type of film I would love to make. The thing is though, that this film, in it’s premiere weekend, only runs in one lousy cinema in Central London. I was there at the 3pm show, and there were maybe 20 people in the cinema. I have heard it many times before, also from professional film makers and producers, the Brits don’t like British film, and I simply don’t understand why. I just hope that it will turn around somehow, as British films deserve to be loved by the Brits, just as much as the Danes love Danish films.

Other films recently seen:
Volver (8.5/10)
Is Penelope Cruz really that great in this film? Yes, she is, and so are the other women in this one. Absolutely recommended.

A Scanner Darkly
Well this film became very darkly, because I fell asleep halfway through it. That’s not really a compliment, but the cartoon look in the film was quite nice, for a while.

The Sentinel
Michael Douglas still has it if you ask me. If the film had it too, well, it was entertaining enough, maybe a bit predictable, but nevertheless.

36 Quai des Orf?vres
The 2 hot shots of French cinema together in one film : G?rard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil. Not bad at all, a good thriller. French cinema is different from British and American cinema, but I can’t really point out where and why. This was definetely a film worth watching.

10 thoughts to “Driving Lessons (8.5/10) review”

  1. You name only Billy Elliot? What about (to list just a few):
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Calendar Girls
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Buster
    Prick Up Your Ear
    Educating Rita

  2. Yeah, and about 60 other ones, including the Canterbury Tales with Bill. I know her, and I love her as an actress, she is one of the best. Oh and Wah Wah, she was great in that too.

  3. thanks for these reviews: It’s too bad films like Driving Lessons don’t seem to make it to the U.S. — it sounds great.

  4. And just because I don’t think anyone else has mentioned it, was Ms Walters not Ron’s mum in Harry Potter?

    I think maybes us Brits like a bit of glamour and escapism in our films. Most British films don’t offer that, cos they’re British. They’re familiar.

  5. Yes she was Ron’s mum in HP indeed.

    I know what you mean about British films being “British”, but the Danish films had the same thing, lot of social realism in them, and the Danes loved them. Danes loved American glamourous and escapism like films too, so do I, but all this British talent is wasted on the, uhm, Brits, if you ask me. Which is such a shame!

  6. I think you know nothing bout movies, Brits LOVE British movies, you’re nuts, calendar girls was a success as well as Billy Eliot, Driving Lessons is a puppy kind of movie, the clich? back and forth, someone who is shy end up been so confident about him/her self…seen it many time and it gets boring to a certain point.
    I have read many reviews that this movie doesn?t have a climax, it goes from the beginning to the end at one level without giving you a roller coasters of emotions?sorry but No, this movie is a big NO NO!

  7. True, I know nothing about movies.

    The UK film council does though, so try to check their website and see how British movies are doing, compared to the American ones:
    http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/cinemagoing/boxoffice/

    Not that great rrreally.

    People who do actually work in the film industry have been telling us (film school students) the same thing by the way. But hey, might be they don’t now anything about movies either …

    Just for the record I do love British movies.

  8. Maybe those movies are not that great, have you ever thought about it, just because they are British doesn’t mean they are ALL going to be great, and the ones that were great have done enough at the box office like Billy Elliot, one small Indy movie that got more than 20 M pounds at the box office, and unbelievable amount of money.

    But what about the Indy American movies, they don?t do well either, if you want to compare Indy movies compare them against American Indies not against studio movies?.and what about the Harry Potter movies, those movies are English and they are so successful, so lets not blame the English about the few appeal that some Indy movie have for them.

  9. I could be tempted to go into a long discussion here, but I have better things to do. I just wrote a review on a film I liked, and some thoughts I had. Feel free to have your own.

  10. What about Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bend it Like Beckham, Notting Hill and the two Bridget Jones’ films?? They were very successful out of Great Britain, so thay had to be also successful there. =D I’m Spanish, and here those films are very famous.

    Though well, actually, according to IMDB some of those films are not entirely British, and I suppose that they are just a minority of the number of British films.

    But in the rest of Europe it’s worse. Here in Spain people don’t like Spanish films, but for those films who also are successful abroad, and for Spanish films being successful abroad means being screened in some foreign cinema, and not as famous as a big-budget film, which is virtually impossible for a Spanish film. So generally speaking, Spanish people watch films of the directors known abroad, like Almod?var (Volver, All About My Mother, Talk to Her), and Amen?bar (The Sea Within, The Others, Open Your Eyes).

    Personally, I prefer Amen?bar, because Almodovar, who is more famous abroad, always put in his films some element related to prostitutes, homosexuality, transsexualism, sex, poor people and things like that, and it’s not that I have any prejudice, because I don’t have any at all. The thing that bothers me is that he can’t make a film with any of those elements, I mean, isn’t he capable of doing a good film without any of those things?? He’s suppossed to be a great director, and he is, so why doesn’t he do something different, to prove he can do anything?? It’s not that I’m bothered with that characteristic and topics of his films, is that they are always the same characteristics, as if he could not do a good film without them. But his films are great, I especially liked Volver, the acting is very good. =D

    Amen?bar, on the contrary, does all kind of films, and that’s what I like about him, becuase he can do any film and do it perfectly. Open Your Eyes was a thriller, The Others was a horror film and also a Thriller, and The Sea Within is a drama, and very weepy, I must say, very very touching. He has prove that he can pick any topic and make a great film with it.

    There’s something that block foreign films from become successful in USA, and it’s the remakes. I don’t know why they tend to do it, but they have the mania of make remakes of successful foreign films in stead of dub and screen the original film. That’s what they did with Open Your Eyes, of Amen?bar, and the result of this was Vanilla Sky, with Penelope Cruz interpreting the same character that she had in the original film. And since the premiere of Vanilla Sky, I have never heard anyone saying that Vanilla Sky is better than Open Your Eyes, because the only thing they did was to spoil the original film. All the people who watch the two films say that the original one is better. Americans film remakes with European films as well as with South American films. There’s a very good Argentinian film called Nine Queens, and once I heard the main actor of it say that USA made a remake of it, but that they didn’t quite catch the essence of the film.It’s bothering, but we have to put up with it. This is something Americans do and will always do.

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