British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
A young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local.
Driving Lessons From the writer of the critically acclaimed films, Mrs. Brown and Charlotte Gray, Jeremy Brock brings a touching heartfelt dramedy starring Academy Award Nominees Julie Walters and Laura Linney and from the Harry Potter series, Rupert Grint. The beautiful portrait tells the story of Ben Marshall, (Rupert Grint) a seventeen year old boy being held captive in the heart of his religiously neurotic mother Laura (Laura Linney). After his school year ends he decides to take a job with a clever, free-spirited, and "heavy on the bottle" retired actress, Evie Walton (Julie Walters). The pair embarks upon wonderful adventures from camping to walks around the block to the simple conversations about life. Challenging the domineering mother, as well as each other along the way, the two develop a beautiful bond that revolutionizes both their lives.
The comedic elements are flawless and precise especially coming from the British veteran, Julie Walters. Brock uses his unique style to create an infamous and loving nature that first time directors could only dream. Directing comes naturally to Brock as he builds up stunning imagery that breaks the surfaces and plunges the viewer down into an overabundance of adoration and creation. Even the subtle score by unknown composers Clive Carroll and John Renbourn accentuate the tone and manner Brock had no trouble in generating.
Laura Linney is always making her mark in films as she does as "Laura." The bossy and overbearing mother is at times unbearable and with Linney at the helm of it we are engulfed into that persona. The complexity of her character couldn't have been more flawlessly portrayed by anyone else. Rupert Grint breaks away from "Ron Weasley" and tries on someone new. His performance is more responsive than loquacious but Grint gives us someone brand new to a child performance and the viewer gets to enjoy it. But the standout is coming from Oscar nominated actress Julie Walters who gives "Evie" a life of her own. Despite the role being clearly a leading one, Walters fairs better in the supporting category where I believe she can simply take home the prize. "Evie" is a mix of "Clementine Kruczynski" and "Mrs. Laura Henderson" with her free spirit and lovable persona. Hopefully her role will not go unnoticed this awards season.
Driving Lessons isn't an "out of this world" experience but a fine, enjoyable one that any viewer could just kick back and learn a little something about life, love, and friendship coming in the forms of the most beautiful colors and sizes.
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