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Wendy (Patricia Clarkson), a self-absorbed New York book critic, is shocked to reality by the sudden end of her marriage. Always dependent on her husband for driving, she must now learn to take the wheel on her own. Her instructor Darwan (Ben Kingsley) is a Sikh Indian who watches with alarm as his pupil falls apart at the seams. He himself is contemplating an arranged marriage with a woman he has never met. As these two lives intersect, both will change in unpredictable ways.Written by
Patricia Clarkson approached Sir Ben Kinsgley and Director Isabel Coixet with the script for this movie when they realized how much fun they were having doing Elegy (2008). See more »
Slow down. Park there. Mr. Yampolsky, you have followed all the rules. You'll pass your test tomorrow, I'm sure of it. And after you get your license, I suspect you'll buy the biggest, fastest car, and throw all the rules out of the window.
It is not a joke. Remember driving is a freedom. I wish you to enjoy every kind of freedom... As long as you don't hurt someone. You promise me?
Okay, Mr. Singh.
Mr. Singh Tur.
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A tour of New York, a lesson of humanity and humility by two dysfunctional characters. Simple yet beautiful.
Let it be known that I wish Ben Kingsley was my driving instructor, my old one was not friendly, that jerk just yelled at me constantly. Learning to drive can be an outright stressful experience, but the movie makes it interestingly light and approachable by using comedic clash of personalities and cultures. Also, props to the leads for realizing the modest troubled characters.
Wendy (Patricia Clarkson) is a distraught wife who just finds out that her husband is cheating on her. Thus begin the arduous dance of divorce. Meanwhile, she's decided to take driving lessons as a cathartic act. Darwan (Ben Kingsley) steps in as the instructor. Both of them have a set of unique problems and serendipitously find solace in each other's company.
For a leading female in New York, Wendy is a mess. It's not just Sex and The City mess, but complete wreck for about half of the movie. It's a humble depiction of character as she struggles to come in term with the divorce. The movie maintains a less melodramatic tone, this is a more realistic depiction and not a flamboyant drama.
Ben Kingsley plays as a Sikh here, at this point he can play any role extremely well, but it's nice to see him as someone other than some viceroy in medieval epic. There's a great respect to his Indian heritage and it easily looks genuine. He appears to be a calm voice of reason, although his life itself isn't perfect. It's rather humbling to see that someone with mentor persona deals with his own problems.
The film doesn't have striking development or twist, it's just a few strolls of a metropolis with two relatable characters. It presents a nice presentation, taking time to display the city's nuance with good cinematography as well as spicing the story with steadily flow of light humor. The scenes feel involving even though the two leads live very contrasting lives.
Learning to Drive is a lighthearted drama with nice addition to comedy and amazing acting. Highly recommended for casual audience for the humble and modest nature will soothingly entertain wide range of viewers.
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