2015, USA/UK, 90 min.
Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley star in this touching comedy-drama about taking control of your life in your 50s. Sheltered, affluent book critic Wendy ends up in the NYC taxi of Darwan moments after she is unceremoniously dumped by her husband in a restaurant. When the working-class cabbie, a turban-wearing, Sikh immigrant, returns the next day with the separation papers, he’s not in his cab, but in a car with a “Driving Lessons” sign affixed. Wendy, who cannot drive, spots the sign—and a chance to gain some control over her life. The calm, sage Darwan is the perfect tonic for Wendy’s frazzled state. As Darwan teaches Wendy to drive, she shows him how to embrace the arrival of his wife, a woman he has never met, who throws his work-centric life for a loop. The beauty of Isabel Coixet’s drama is that it treats the main characters as clear-thinking, experienced adults. To solve their personal problems, Darwan and Wendy must look inward as well as to each other. The emotional authenticity will enlighten and reassure audiences, and Clarkson and Kingsley’s genuine, deeply felt performances only reinforce those qualities.