Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not just Ron Weasley anymore...

Somewhere in the midst of filming all the Harry Potter movies, Rupert Grint found the time to film a really terrific independent film, Driving Lessons. It's a story about a late-teen learning to drive from lessons from his scary religious mother - played with eerie precision by Laura Linney. As part of a summer job (in order to give money to parishioners, wouldn't you kill your mom for making you do that?), he starts working for a retired actress - played by the incomparable Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter!). She convinces him that his artistic leanings have merit and in the words of Shakespeare, "When the shit hits the fan, get a tent", and so they go camping. He's been raised by a mom who would sell her soul to help someone else, but Walters really shows him what it means to be there for someone, with willingness and not piety. There are hysterical arguments between Grint as he tries to break out of the faux religious mold he was raised in, and Walters as she comes to grips with how her career will be remembered. There are a few great supporting roles, but the soundtrack really makes the whole thing come together, with funny Christian rock used a little mockingly to prove their point. It had a little of the Saved! vibe of questioning faith without destryoing it. Grint has some acting chops that stand up well to both Linney and Walters, pretty terrific company to show off your skills.

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