Drive My Car, an OJ Pace and Mood Included

On behalf of the other nominees, let me apologize for the Golden Globes. I haven’t even seen you yet, you Parallel Mothers, you Compartment No. 6, you Hand of God, and you A Hero, but I already KNOW at least one of you would move me more than Drive My Car.
The Golden Globe Award accolade had me all excited about this film, but from the film’s opening, I thought, oh no….please someone hand me some editing shears, since no one needs to see so many bland highway driving scenes….we get it, Japan consists of a good deal of undeveloped land upon which expansive highways can traverse. (Fun fact I just looked up: 70 % of the people live on 3% of the land, yet only 30% of the remaining land is habitable due to its mountainous topography).
Upon further study….I appreciate how two people with different backgrounds and lives can still be living parallel lives. The ‘rider’ feels emotionally abused by his deceptive wife and the ‘driver’ was literally physically abused by her mentally ill mother. And here’s a thought, isn’t anyone violent against another (with the exception of self-defense) mentally ill? While I found 99% of the cinematography bland, I did enjoy the shot of their two arms sticking rather triumphantly out the moon roof to diffuse the smoke from their cigarettes.
I also now better appreciate the conflicts occurring in Uncle Vanya, the play within the movie, as he contemplates the regret of his life making him contemplate suicide before his wife talks him out of it in favor of waiting to your life to the end, in effect waiting for his well deserved rest. These conflicts complement the unspoken misery of both rider and driver.
HOWEVER, Drive My Car is based on a SHORT story which should have given Hamaguchi a big hint to keep it that way. But instead, the plot points, which I won’t spoil here, but am dying to to save you the 3 hours of trouble, were dispersed in the slowest pace, such that I felt zero emotion. Not to mention when you have Succession level immorality, with the remaining three characters as 100% victims, then the obviousness of the story becomes uber monotonous.
Performances? Well, no one smiles in this, which again, if you have no highs, you have no lows. But, if I had to find a silver lining, I’d choose Masaki Okada, the young actor who is assigned as Uncle Vanya. His character’s story line at least had some variation.
I intend to do some research on deeper meanings then the one I left with (“love the whole person, flaws and all”) and if an epiphany happens, I’ll be sure to report back. Feel free also to enlighten me at

Categorized as drama

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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