Parents' Guide to

Learning to Drive

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Empathetic drama treats mature themes with warmth.

Movie R 2015 89 minutes
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What a delight when a film surprises you with its warmth, empathy, and deep understanding of the human condition -- especially when it's wrapped up in a seemingly trite premise. Such is the joy of Learning to Drive, which has not just one but two impressive leads in Clark and Kingsley, as well as great supporting actors like Mamie Gummer and Jake Weber. The whole cast offers viewers authentic performances, elevating an already pretty good movie close to greatness.

Learning to Drive also makes the most of New York City as its backdrop, though not in the same cliched ways many other films do. The borough of Queens comes alive; the arteries and highways seem nearly as essential as the subways. But it's the movie's exploration of starting over and its strong translation of the (obvious) metaphor inherent in the premise -- a woman learns to drive after the husband she has relied on to ferry her everywhere has left her -- that makes it so memorable.

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