By Ira Lapina
“Those who survive keep thinking about the dead. One way or another, that will continue… We must keep living. Everything will pass.”
The only reason you need to convince you this film is good is that the opening credits start in the middle of the film.
Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi is about a theatre director, Yusuke Kafuku, who is unable to grapple with the death of his wife two years ago. He begins to direct Uncle Vanya at a theatre festival in Hiroshima, but the conditions are that he cannot drive his own car, someone else has to do it. His chauffeur is Misaki, and as they confess their secrets and share their past together; they are able to move on with their lives, their regrets and their mistakes.
Words cannot describe exactly how good this film is. I came in wondering if this 3-hour film would drag on, to craving more than just three hours. Three hours weren’t enough, it gave me this heart-wrenching feeling and yet, it was satisfying. I wish I could watch it more than once because it simply wasn’t enough.
This film isn’t just about the story, it is about your connection to these characters, their emotions and just how human they are. It is about the need to connect with other people, knowing that there will be a time when those connections will be no longer. We go through trials upon trials with people, to the point where we’re hurt and we want answers, that the grief we have needs to be experienced not just alone but shared. And it also deals with our past and those we’ve left behind. That as much as we knew them, we never truly did, we can really only know another person by knowing who we are and who they are to us.
This film is about the idea that things gets better. That it takes work, it takes communicating, it takes dealing with grief, even if we don’t have all the answers. But it takes work. Even with all our regrets that churn us inside-out, it gets better. And it has to because we have to keep living.
This film and its cinematography are insane and there is one scene in particular that cannot be replicated because of what it shows and what it represents. The two characters, Yusuke and Misaki, both light up their cigarettes and open the sunroof of the Red Saab 900 (which is the best film car that I have ever seen but also, the best actress).
There is something so tranquil in that these two characters are sharing their grief together, that although they struggle to communicate and handle their own grief, they are able to connect it with each other. Quite the poetic film if you ask me.
This film is like a softly gripping hand that holds yours, you can feel the pressure but somehow, it’s reassuring.
This film gave me a whirlwind of emotions to the point where I even made a Spotify playlist for it.