This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jarrel Montes’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Who drives you?
This is actually quite incredible not just from a storytelling standpoint but cinematically as well with how serene and smooth the driving sequences were. All the elements fit just right for the theme of moving on, not just with the symbolism from each of the character's actions and behavior, but the deeper narrative on Oto's lasting memory being a questionable character. The visuals were such a treat, the car is charmingly beautiful and so distinct that I'm sure car enthusiasts will now add that to their wishlist, it felt like a character on its own who also ended up helping Kafuku move on. The dialogue is so sincere and straight to the point, the lines are so organically walled up that when the emotions pour the impact hit much harder. The long runtime might be a bit intimidating to casual film watchers, but the movie is chopped up well between acts for a decent intermission, plus it helps reinforce the protagonist's slow and quiet journey.
Some might find the inner plot points a bit pretentious, especially with how Oto "writes" her stories, or even the seemingly too sad of an origin for Misaki, the latter of which I can get with but hey I'm sure the hipsters found both to their liking. The performances were all so great, Hidetoshi Nishijima brought Kafuku to life and delivered a great but heartbreaking monologue in the final act. Wishing for a better epilogue from a 3 hour movie might sound crazy, but it's not hard to put the pieces together in that final scene to know it's true ending.
Overall this was a great watch, It's quite long but worth the immersion and emotional rollercoaster, another strong best picture nominee, and honestly right now from what I've watched I wouldn't be surprised if this or CODA wins, but we'll just have to see!