Two strong-willed women wield their influence on a shy teenaged boy in this coming-of-age comedy from the United Kingdom. Seventeen-year-old Ben (Rupert Grint) is the son of a soft-spoken vicar (Nicholas Farrell), but it's his mother,… More Two strong-willed women wield their influence on a shy teenaged boy in this coming-of-age comedy from the United Kingdom. Seventeen-year-old Ben (Rupert Grint) is the son of a soft-spoken vicar (Nicholas Farrell), but it's his mother, Laura (Laura Linney), who rules the household, and she has put Ben cheerfully under her thumb, keeping him busy with a variety of good-will errands for the church and numerous local charity causes. With summer vacation looming before him, Ben is looking forward to learning to drive, but Laura is more interested in spending time with one of the more charming members of the church staff than helping Ben learn how to operate the family automobile. Wanting to earn some pocket money, Ben starts looking for a part-time job and ends up working for Evie Walton (Julie Walters), an elderly and slightly eccentric actress who needs help keeping her garden in shape. Laura believes Evie isn't an especially good influence on her son, though Ben is happy to find someone who encourages his interest in poetry and the larger world (especially girls). One day, Evie announces that she needs to ride to Edinburgh, where she is supposed to give a reading as part of the city's massive music and arts festival. While Ben doesn't have his license, he volunteers to take the wheel, and soon he's confronted with various forms of decadence that his mother has frequently warned him to avoid. Driving Lessons received its North American premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Consensus: Though it has charm, Driving Lessons is a middling offering in the genre where the youngster coming of age meets a quirky senior who teaches valuable lessons about life.