Cinema doesn’t always have to be cryptic or deeply symbolic to be meaningful, and sometimes the most effective thing a film can do is to be completely upfront about its themes and intentions. This is certainly the case with Drive My Car, one of two 2021 films by Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi. It is a film about communication, grieving and living double lives where the main character, Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), is a theatre actor with a residency to direct a multilingual production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. Yūsuke is still grieving the sudden death of his screenwriter wife two years ago, whom he knew had been having affairs. So many elements of the film are clearly about living two different lives, but the richness of Drive My Car does not just come from revelations and surprises, but the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing how it explores the ideas and scenario it is upfront about presenting in ways that are so sincere and moving.
Read and listen to the rest of this review at ABC Radio Melbourne