“After his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. There, he begins to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind.” -IMDB
While I do think that this is one of the better films of the past year, it is also one of the most difficult to get through. Let me clarify…
Sitting through a three hour movie is a big ask for any audience and it seems like we are increasingly being asked to endure them (I’m looking at you, The Batman). Add in subtitles and it becomes an almost insurmountable task, as you’re never given a moment to leave the screen.
However, I think Drive My Car is worth the test of endurance. It won’t be for everyone and I think some will be turned off by the pacing of it and may find it boring; however, if you can stick with it, it is ultimately a sweet and honest look at grief, guilt, and forgiveness. The acting is quiet, but raw, which is ultimately how I would describe the movie as well. It is a worthy contender for this year’s Best Picture.
If you are curious, but feel the challenge is too much, let me help you out. The quietness of this film lends itself to watching it like a short series. There are plenty of moments of silence where you could easily pause and come back later. While the emotional intensity might be somewhat dampened, I think it will only be minimally lessened and will ultimately help you make it through the story. Or, just take a lovely, lazy movie day and devote the full three hours to it. I believe in you!
Rating: 8 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Mass, Parallel Mothers
Streaming: HBO Max
With: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tôko Miura, Reika Kirishima
Directed By: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi