Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★½

Lives lived while repressed grief slowly burns away like a still-smoking cigarette butt in one's pocket. I waited too long to review this, through two busy weeks of work, through a family friend's death and an intense dive into the post-production slog of a short film, through a few other movies and a couple video games and some television I barely engaged with. I mostly remember the snow at the film's end, how everything suddenly becomes incredibly quiet as Kafuku and Misaki look their pain square in the face and confess their darkest secrets the way Chekov characters might, and Hamaguchi's prosaic study of the theatrical process and its many miscommunications, quirks, and long days sitting in drab conference rooms suddenly gives way to something painterly and more genuinely theatrical, as aching emotions long suppressed break through the shell of sorrow like flowers blooming out of the cracks in a sidewalk. A movie in which nothing is said directly suddenly becomes a movie in which everything is said, blood-red catharsis spilt against snow so stark white it's almost dream-like. I waited too long to review this, so instead of straining to be perceptive I'll just confirm what everyone already knows: Drive My Car is a very good movie, a quiet, humbling film about the mysteries inside other people we'll never solve, but that through conversation and art and small gestures of kindness we can try to understand, try to come to peace with, if only for a moment.

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