Ben (Rupert Grint) is stuck in the middle between these two women - both of them fighting for his soul. With each new challenge that his character faces, he grows and learns to become more vocal. Rupert Grint’s acting is believable throughout even though at first he doesn’t talk much and mostly just stares, blushes and nods a lot.
Grint’s role in Driving Lessons does not much differ from the shy preteen he plays in the Harry Potter films, but it does prove that he is an actor in his own right. You never doubt his character and even without much dialogue the audience is always aware of Ben’s emotional state.
Despite having three captivating characters in the lead roles, the movie does have a few dull moments. But perhaps this is part of Brock’s message – the film does seem to be intentionally boring at times.
Ben has a solemnly boring father, who is entertained only by learning about birds and the noises they make. In fact, the majority of the characters seem to be entertained by simple and gravely boring activities. It seems the more religious the character the more dull they are.
Though religion is at the dramatic crux of the story, Brock has nothing new to say about it. He depicts two usual types of religious followers - the true (and normally dull) believers and the fakes, those who use religion for their own selfish purposes.
Brock’s portrayal of Laura is quite typical – on the outside she is a fanatical Christian, but in reality she disobeys most of God’s serious commandments.
One of the downsides of the film is that it is riddled with such stereotypes. At least Brock still manages to convey a message through these stereotypes. His message: just because you are religious doesn’t necessarily make you a moral or happy person.
The charismatic acting is definitely the highlight of Driving Lessons and also the only good reason to go see it. If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy or a love story, better give this one a skip.
- Annel Malan
Despite being as dull as an actual driving lesson at times, this film does give Rupert Grint the chance to prove himself a worthy actor.
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