Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I love a movie with an uplifting conclusion, and Learning to Drive has exactly that (2014, Rated R, Available on DVD and Amazon Streaming).
Patricia Clarkson is a great actress. I don't know if I first saw her in The Station Agent or Lars and the Real Girl, but she won me over right away. She can play sweetness and light or tormented or persnickety. You need it, Patricia Clarkson can do it.
In Learning to Drive, she's joined by no less than Sir Ben Kingsley, who plays Darwan, a Sikh Indian taxi driver and driving instructor who is troubled by his new, arranged marriage. Clarkson is Wendy, a book critic who is troubled by the sudden end of her longtime marriage and, perhaps even more important, her inability to drive.
Wendy lives in New York. Not driving has never been an issue because if her husband couldn't take her where she needed to go, she could take cabs or the subway. But then her daughter Tasha (Grace Gummer) wants Wendy to visit her at the farm where she has taken a temporary job, and where she has fallen in love. Wendy must learn to drive so she can make the journey to see her daughter.
Clarkson and Kingsley work together so well that they don't need to speak a great deal. Their emotions can be conveyed with a look or a few words. Learning to Drive, especially the relationship between Wendy and Darwan, never seems predictable to me. Instead, their emotional connection is touching, poignant, and amusing. Both characters need to learn to make other connections: Darwan with his new wife and Wendy with her daughter.
The movie also has a funny sexual escapade when Wendy goes on her first date after her marriage
breaks up, and she experiences Tantric sex. Oi!
Watch Learning to Drive for the screenplay and for the acting.
This movie is definitely not for children. I have no idea if it would interest older teens. I know Favorite Young Man wants to see it, but he's way past his teenage years. Perhaps I should dub him Favorite Older Man.
Learning to Drive earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. I first watched it on a DVD from Netflix. I'll watch it again on Amazon Prime Streaming.
Happy viewing with a happy ending!
Infinities of love,