Learning to Drive – Quiet and Sweet

Yearning for a nice kumbaya feel good type of film that would help me to forget how crappy humans can be, I decided to watch Learning to Drive.  The film began with an emotional crash – Wendy (Patricia Clarkson) cannon balling into Darwan’s (Ben Kingley) cab one evening with her soon to be ex-spouse as he is breaking up with her after 21 years of marriage. When follows is a slowly paced film that, although the plot and story unveil as expected, is carried by Clarkson and Kingley’s impressive acting chops. Despite the predictable story, the film is better than average due to their chemistry. Wendy is a upper class white woman and Darwan, a devout Sikh who deals with discrimination daily. Darwan’s other job is providing driving instruction – and Wendy needs to learn how to drive. What ensues is the perfect set up for two very different people to be forced to get to know each other. The cultural differences between the two characters and the similarities that bring them together (namely, the pursuit of happiness and love) seem natural and believable. Thankfully the film doesn’t get too saccharine, but adds just enough honey for this to be called a feel good film. Truly you get what you see – there aren’t many (if any) surprises. But its a great alternative to, say, a Hallmark movie, when you want something nice to watch. I recommend – a great movie to enjoy on a Sunday evening with a bowl of popcorn and perhaps an older relative (I can imagine my Grandma really enjoying this one!)