Ascent 301 – Learning to Drive

learning-to-driveAfter a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and the obligatory Christmas movie, we wanted to watch something fresh. After a brief perusal of the visual cornucopia that is Amazon Prime, our attention was captured by Learning to Drive.

The movie was released in 2015 and features Patricia Clarkson (who is Susan’s cousin) and Ben Kingsley. Clarkson is a writing critic whose husband has left her. Kingsley is a Sikh driving instructor who moonlights as a cab driver in Manhattan.

One night, Wendy (Clarkson) takes a cab home driven by Darwan (Kingsley). She leaves something in the cab and he drives back to her place the next day in his student driver car. As she has realized that she must learn to drive, she is pleasantly surprised to learn that he is a teacher.

As they commence lessons, the movie showcases other aspects of their respective lives. Darwan shares accommodation with several other Sikh friends and family members. He is on the verge of an arranged marriage and is coming to terms with that. Wendy is accepting her husband is not coming back and is shocked to learn that she must sell her house and provide support in the pending divorce.

As the lessons progress, so does their bond and they begin to teach each other about the new phases of their lives.

Darwan’s bride to be arrives and the marriage takes place shortly afterwards. I loved the insights into the Indian culture and the perspective of the Sikh.

Kingsley and Clarkson both gave outstanding performances as their respective characters and the evolution of each was heart warming to experience.

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