Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★½

The long, meandering journey of Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car to the Oscars mirrors the long, meandering journey that the Japanese filmmaker takes viewers on over the course of three hours. It starts in a quiet, unassuming place, makes some unexpected but delightful stops along the way, and ends on a surprisingly hopeful note for the future. The movie takes its time building its narrative and defining its characters, and it requires patience to appreciate its many virtues. It all happens to know when it just gets forty minutes to the opening credits of the film. What's impressive about Hamaguchi's storytelling is that he gives ample breathing room to his characters and allows them to express themselves at their own comfort. Also, he makes those moments earned through the quiet spaces in between. The story shifts gear once the stage director and the young chauffeur assigned to him start interacting about their past lives and the nuanced tone of their performances makes it even more immersive.

The acting performances are also very convincing. Especially the actresses truly deliver the goods. Kirishima Reika shines in the opening of the movie as free-spirited, imaginative and mysterious screenwriter. The very best performance might however come from Miura Toko as skilled driver in an identity crisis who doesn't speak much thoughout the film but transmits many emotions through precise body language in general and subtle facial expressions in particular. Drive My Car is filled with many artistic, intellectual and philosophical references. This goes along with the artistic, creative and expressive characters. At the end of the day, Drive My Car is a melodrama with emotional depth and intellectual details. This timeless film should please anyone looking for profound dramas built upon authentic characters. Patient viewers will be rewarded with a story that resonates long after the movie has ended.


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