Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★

This is an exceptionally good film, and would be a great film if not for one thing: it doesn't seem to have properly figured out what to do with Misaki. Perhaps it's just that it was mis-marketed, but I was thrown by how little she registers as a character until about the final half-hour; for so much of the film she's completely secondary to the more dominant plot thread about Uncle Vanya, Yusuke's grief and his difficulties with his leading man, and when Hamaguchi finally affords her equal footing with Yusuke it kind of feels like too little too late. Otherwise, this is a graceful, patient, terrifically well-acted character study boasting some really exquisite craftsmanship: an Ozu comparison feels reductive, but look at these shots and tell me it's not at least somewhat apt.

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