English Blog

A Movie “Drive My Car”

January 31, 2022

Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story, Drive My Car depicts people who are devastated by loss, allowing time to ripen those wounds, and rebuilding their understanding of love and life’s reason. It is fascinating to hear from non-Japanese speaking audience who perfectly understands the atmosphere and nuances in this movie. That is the power of “Drive My Car”. I am utterly touched by the movie, and the scenes from the movie is still haunting and echoing inside of me.

Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a renowned stage actor and director, accepts the offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya (a play by Anton Chekhov) at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a reserved young woman assigned by the festival  to chauffeur him around Hiroshima. Kafuku first resisted the idea that a stranger drives his beloved red Saab 900. After the testing period, Kafuku started to admire Watari’s secure driving technique, and to feel comfort being in the car with her. As the production’s premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew (in Japanese way – unspokenly). Koji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), a handsome TV star and a main character in the play, shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront aching truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins to face the unsolved mysteries his late wife, Oto (Reika Kirishima), left behind.

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” is an insightful masterpiece that explores love and grief, and acceptance and tranquility. Winner of three prizes at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay.