Learning to Drive

"Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson are perfection together." - New York Daily News

"Wendy’s life is stalled. Her husband’s walked out. Her only daughter is off at some commune. Lately Wendy’s just been sitting in her expensive Manhattan townhouse, crying into her merlot.

"So Wendy decides to get her life into gear — literally — by finally getting her driver’s license. That’s the heavily symbolic setup of 'Learning to Drive,' but the movie handles the metaphor with surprising grace.

"Contributing the grace is Patricia Clarkson. She’s palely elegant as the newly abandoned Wendy, a sharp-tongued book critic. Adding to the surprise here: Ben Kingsley as her driving instructor, a gently formal Sikh from Queens.

"Instead of just playing the story as a cute culture clash, screenwriter Sarah Kernochan and director Isabel Coixet create real people. Real drama, too. The lessons include more than parallel parking and both characters get turns taking the wheel — in the car and in life.

"The cast is terrific. Coixet has a feel for a New York that looks like New York. And while the plot takes a sharp left midway through — it seems Kingsley has an arranged marriage coming up — the movie never treats the story, or the audience, with anything less than respect.

"Hungry for some grownup entertainment? Take 'Learning to Drive' for a spin." - New York Daily News


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