On the road of life, you never know exactly what you’ll find around the next turn. That lesson is very much true for the lead characters in this summer’s delightful comedy Learning to Drive. Academy Award® winner Ben Kingsley and Academy Award® nominee Patricia Clarkson star in this feel-good, coming of (middle) age comedy about a mismatched pair who help each other overcome life’s road blocks. It’s a journey full of surprises, and the trip- like the movie – is very much worth it.
Wendy (Patricia Clarkson) is a fiery Manhattan author whose
husband has just left her for another woman; Darwan (Ben Kingsley) is a soft-spoken taxi driver from India on the verge of an arranged marriage. As Wendy sets out to reclaim her independence, she runs into a barrier common to many lifelong New Yorkers: she’s never learned to drive. When Wendy hires Darwan to teach her, her unraveling life and his calm restraint seem like an awkward fit. But as he shows her how to take control of the wheel, and she coaches him on how to impress a woman, their unlikely friendship awakens them to the joy, humor, and love in starting life anew.
You’ll find yourself rooting for both characters as they gradually find themselves – and common ground – during the course of the film. Despite such very different cultures and life experiences, it’s fascinating to see Wendy and Darwan realize how similar the challenges that they face in their marriages are …namely, how well do you know your spouse? And how do you find closeness with the person next to you in bed– whether it’s a veritable stranger in an arranged marriage, or a too-familiar partner in a decades-long marriage where the bond is taken for granted?
Clarkson and Kingsley are both at their finest in these roles, and their chemistry on screen is absolutely magnetic. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was voted first-runner up for the People’s Choice Award. Critics are also raving about LEARNING TO DRIVE:
“A Must-See… Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson are perfection together!” – Deadline.com
“Lovely!” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Rapturous Performances!” – Rex Reed, The Observer
“A touching, insightful and… extremely well-meaning film.” – Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
So this weekend — take a trip to your local cinema to catch Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson in this smart, emotional and uplifting tale of Learning to Drive.
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