Aside from its dialects and locations being distinctively English and Scottish, Driving Lessons feels very American. The coming-of-age film, which stars a stone-faced Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter films), has a story that seems straight off the assembly line of our own indie scene. Some of the conventions used in the script include the out-of-his-league crush, the casual virginity-loss, the overbearing and/or religious parent, the life-changing road-trip, and the cross-generational relationship that begins as student-mentor and ends as everlasting friendship. Such tried-and-true elements are not specific to the States, but with so many novice filmmakers here relying on generic adolescence as their easy starting point, the conventions have become staples of American cinema.
Grint plays Ben, a boy so far on the verge of manhood that he states his age as precisely 17½. He's not very ready for the world, though, thanks to his strict, protective mother (Laura Linney) and his weak father (Nicholas Farrell). When urged to get a summer job, Ben finds employment as an assistant for an aging actress named Dame Evie Walton (Julie Walters, who plays Grint's mom in the Harry Potter films), who not only helps him to grow up, but also helps him to have fun with the transition into adulthood, as well.