Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Haruki Murakami, Takamasa Oe
Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tôko Miura, Reika Kirishima
Nishijima Hidetoshi is a stage actor and director happily married to his playwright wife. Then one day she disappears.
Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is an actor and director who suffers from the abrupt loss of his wife. 2 years following the tragedy, he receives an offer to direct a play in Hiroshima and attempt to start a new chapter in life. His mandatory driver Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), is tasked with not only driving Yasuke, but maintaining the emmaculate condition his precious car is in. Misaki and Yusuke learn about each other in these rides, about the trauma they’ve both been through as well as the issues they face in the moment. This look into grief and exploration of what it means to move on from said grief is perhaps a too lengthy, but more than makes up for that with incredible storytelling.
Yusuke is from the very beginning of the film but in horrible situations that he undoubtedly felt no control over. His only reactions were to hide his true feelings through the first act and is expertly acted by Hidetoshi Nishijima. It’s through the time spent in his car with Misaki that he truly can be himself and even at times open up and commiserate with her. This relationship is beautifully acted by both actors, and is one of my favorite things about this movie.
The message is very nuanced and layered. It’s not an easy answer to any of the challenges presented in the movie and the director does a great job of not allowing the audience to pick sides easily. I love the depth every character has from lead to supporting and think every performance in this could not have been better. The cinematography is stunning, the writing and directing top-notch. This is one film that could sweep awards season if you can withstand the easy 3 hr runtime.
That would really be my only issue with ‘Drive My Car’ is I don’t really feel 3 hrs is fully justified for this story. I think there are some moments that could be shortened a little but also feel like this film really had great pacing to make it’s runtime not feel so long. Just go to the bathroom first and you’ll be fine. This is definitely one I’d recommend seeing especially if you want a unique and beautiful story.