Learning to Drive (2014) is a film with a simple plot and was an untaxing watch. Darwan is a Sikh immigrant living in New York, he is around 50 years yet not sure when he wants to get married, and works as a driving instructor and a cabbie. Having learnt her husband of three decades is divorcing her, Wendy is struggling to come to terms with her new life. Wendy wants to keep visiting her daughter who is living on a farm, but unable to go there as she doesn’t know driving. The story is about how the two help each other, without any ‘romantic’ feelings towards each other.
For the first 15 minutes of the film, I was admiring at the lead actor playing as Darwan – he was playing the subtleties of the Singh character well, yet it was evident he is not a native – then it dawned on me, the actor is none other than Ben Kingsley – Sir, it was a delight to watch you. Matching him, Patricia Clarkson has played well her role as Wendy, which involved exhibiting emotional pain her character was going through. I loved the scenes where Darwan patiently teaches driving, making you feel you want to forget and learn driving afresh from him.
The driving lessons portions reminded of a Hebrew film I saw “Zinuk BaAlia (2015)” which had an elderly gentleman taking driving lessons (relearning due to a court order) from a young lady instructor.
Available on Netflix India.