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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Drive My Car': A Captivating Drama About a Japanese Director's Struggles with Grief and Acceptance

Movie poster for the 2021 film "Drive My Car" (ドライブ・マイ・カー)

Drive My Car (ドライブ・マイ・カー) (2021) is the thoroughly engrossing tale of a Japanese theater actor/director named Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who suffers the loss of his wife Oto (Reika Kirishima) and immerses himself in a new stage production in order to distract himself from his pain.

Relocating from Tokyo to Hiroshima, Kafuku takes the reins of a multi-lingual adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, curiously casting his late wife's young lover Kōji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada) in a lead role. Kafuku is unable to drive due to deterioration of his sight, however, and is assigned a young woman named Misaki Watari (Tôko Miura) as his personal valet—a fateful pairing that serves as the basis for an evocative tale of self-reflection.

Based on the short story by Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore) and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy), this winner of the 2021 Academy Award for Best International Film is a lengthy yet captivating rumination on love, loss and regret. Hamaguchi mines Murakami's work with grace and precision, delivering one of the most emotionally affecting cinematic experiences of recent memory.


Watch the trailer:


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