|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Originaltitel:||Learning to Drive|
|Laufzeit:||Approx. 90 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
New York literary critic Wendy (Patricia Clarkson) is convinced that she has both feet firmly on the ground. She has a steady income, lives in a beautiful apartment and has been leading a happy marriage Ted (Jake Weber) for 21 years. Wendy just didn't see her leaving for a younger girl. But Wendy doesn't want to grant this triumph to her faithless husband. In order to visit her daughter Tasha (Grace Gummer) in Vermont, she decides to finally get her driver's license. The Indian taxi driver Darwan (Ben Kingsley), who unintentionally witnessed the end of Wendy's and Ted's marriage, is supposed to help her. Wendy's calm, level-headed manner allows her to see many things in her life with completely new eyes. And so an unexpected friendship develops between the unequal people during their driving lessons together, revealing to both what really matters in life. And Darwan could just as easily use this insight as Wendy...
Director Isabel Coixet is not exactly known for staging light cinema fare. "My life without me" or "Elegy or the art of loving" can certainly be regarded as entertainment films, but they prove to be difficult to access, especially for an audience accustomed to mainstream fare. After Coixet couldn't generate much enthusiasm with her attempt to stage a supernatural thriller ("Another me"), she now dares to make a real feel-good film with "Learning to Drive". However, she skilfully avoids drifting into too shallow waters. Her film is light-footed and at the same time profound - and thus a real little jewel in the arthouse cinema offer.
The characters are drawn very lovingly and are brought to life wonderfully by Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley. The actors as well as the screenplay and the staging skilfully navigate around all threatening cliché cliffs. Especially taxi drivers and driving instructors Darwan could have quickly become an exaggerated cliché. But both Kingsley and Coixet know how to prevent this perfectly. Also well done is the way in which both plot strands - Wendy's and Darwan's - run side by side, only to be skilfully linked in the common scenes. Thus, in the course of the film it becomes very easy to understand what influence the shared moments have on the lives of both of them.
Excepting a few minimal lengths, "Learning to Drive" is an extremely entertaining pleasure that encourages us to break out of all too fixed habits and to look at life from different perspectives. Because it is the unexpected that sometimes provides the most beautiful surprises. And since you leave the cinema with this message in your heart and a smile on your face, there is also a very clear message for this film: Worth seeing!
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