Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★½

About 40 minutes into Drive My Car, some opening credits roll. There are lots of characters in this drama, and it takes a long time to set up the full context of the premise. Yūsuke, a theater actor, is married to Oto, a screenwriter. One day, shortly after he catches her having an affair, Oto suddenly dies from a brain hemorrhage.

Two years later, Yūsuke begins a residency in Hiroshima. He practices his lines by listening a recorded tape of his wife reading all the other characters' lines. He requests a hotel one hour away by car (side note: horrible thing to do, ban all cars) to practice, but the theater requires him to use a driver. Over the course of the movie, he and his driver become close.

This film moves gradually, but not a single minute of the three hour runtime is wasted. It takes the time it needs to slowly peel back the layers of Yūsuke and his driver Misaki. Ultimately, this is a road story about grief, and how each of those characters handles their extreme grief in different ways, aided by fantastic writing and performances. One of the many brilliant things about this movie is how it uses the plays/screenplays within the film itself to explore the characters further.

9/10. A slow burn, but hands down one of the best portrayals of grief I've ever seen in film.

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