Drive My Car
So I am trying to watch all of the films nominated for Best Picture before the ceremony takes place and I finally finished “Drive My Car”, the Japanese film directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. My first reaction, 2 hours and 45 minutes into it (it is a 3 hour film), was that I disliked it very much. To me it is way too long, very somber, people talk to each other in languages no one can understand (Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean sign language, English), I questioned why the central character in the film (Yusuke Kafuku, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) did not confront his wife about an incident that took place early on (not to give away any key elements of the plot) and yes, there was a lot of driving. Although I will say I did love the red Saab. But then at 2 hours and 46 minutes into the film it hit me that I really loved the one and pivotal scene I was watching. All of that buildup could have taken place much earlier in my opinion but Kafuku and his driver, the young Misaki Watari (played by Toko Miura), come together over different things that have happened in each other’s lives and it is a beautiful moment.
One of the things Kafuku says, and I am paraphrasing, is, ‘Those who survive keep thinking about the dead constantly in one way or another. In one way or another that will continue. You and I must keep living like that. We must keep on living. It’ll be ok….we’ll be ok.’ I love when and how he tells her this. Also, to quote reviewer Alissa Wilkinson from the article in Vox magazine, ‘In the place where language falls away, we come to terms with what we’ve lost in the past, and we determine to go on living’ is a key theme of the film.
This is definitely a heavy one to watch. I won’t say that I loved it but after digesting it and having time to think about it, I will say it does offer a lot to think about.