Film Review: Drive My Car (2021)

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film Drive My Car is one of the most haunting films about grief, art imitating life and the mystery of human beings that I have ever seen. Based on the short story of the same name my one of the great authors Murakami, the slow burn plot follows the journey of a screenwriter/actor mourning the recent death of his wife who is directing a play of Uncle Vanya and through a growing bond with his young female driver simultaneously comes to terms with his wife’s death and uncovers mysteries she left behind. The film is very long, almost 3 hours, though never feels unnecessary, each scene building slowly towards a profound conclusion that brought me to tears. As an adaptation of a short story the film’s power is less in its visuals and more in its dialogue, slowly revealing itself like a novel. Ryusuke cleverly intertwines the lines from Uncle Vanya into the narrative as the main character rehearses the lines via a tape in the car. As the production of the play takes places the lines from the play seem to mirror the interior lives of characters in the film. Chekhov’s play is not for the faint heart and grapples with the mysteries and suffering of life as much as the film does. In reserved Japanese emotions we incrementally peel away layers of meaning to get a portrait of heartbreak, of love and of living on after the death of a loved one. Epic in its scope and study of human emotions the final destination will confront you with hard truths as it comforts you with wisdom. This is a long film full of mysteries to solve and hidden meanings to analyse. The film makes you work as a viewer, but if you submit yourself to its runtime and enigma the reward is profound. With Sonyas monologue from Uncle Vanya, one of the most profound and moving in all literate, as an epitaph to the film we come to terms with our suffering and sorrow: ‘And when our final hour comes, we shall meet it humbly, and there beyond the grave, we shall say we know suffering and tears, that our life was bitter. And God will pity us. And then dear, dear Uncle we shall enter on a bright and beautiful life. We shall rejoice and look back upon our grief here. A tender smile – and we shall rest’. One of the best films of the year 10/10


94th Academy Awards Final Nomination Predictions

Final Predictions for the 94th Academy Awards:

Best Picture:

1. The Power of the Dog

2. Belfast

3. West Side Story

4. Dune

5. Licorice Pizza

6. King Richard


8. Tick, tick… Boom!

9. Drive My Car

10. Don’t Look Up

Alt: Nightmare Alley


Best Director:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune

3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

4. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

5. Steven Speilberg, West Side Story

Alt: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car


Best Actress

1. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

2. Nicole Kidman, Being The Ricardos

3. Kirsten Stewart, Spencer

4. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Alt: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza


Best Actor:

1. Will Smith, King Richard

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

3. Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… BOOM!

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Alt: Javier Bardem, Being The Ricardos


Best Supporting Actress:

1. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

3. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

4. Ruth Negga, Passing

5. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Alt: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard


Best Supporting Actor:

1. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

2. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

3. Troy Kotsur, CODA

4. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

5. Mike Faist, West Side Story

Alt: Jamie Dornan, Belfast


Best Adapted Screenplay:

1. The Power of the Dog

2. The Lost Daughter


4. Dune

5. Drive My Car

Alt: West Side Story


Best Original Screenplay:

1. Belfast

2. Licorice Pizza

3. King Richard

4. Being The Ricardos

5. Don’t Look Up

Alt: Parallel Mothers


Best Documentary:

1. Summer of Soul

2. Flee

3. Procession

4. Ascension

5. The Rescue

Alt: The First Wave


Best Foreign Language Film:

1. Drive My Car

2. Flee

3. The Worst Person In The World

4. A Hero

5. The Hand of God

Alt: Compartment No. 6


Best Animated Film:

1. The Mitchells vs the Machines

2. Encanto

3. Luca

4. Flee

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Alt: Sing 2


Best Cinematography:

1. The Power of the Dog

2. Dune

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Belfast

5. West Side Story

Alt: Nightmare Alley


Best Costume Design:

1. Dune

2. Cruella

3. West Side Story

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Cyrano

Alt: House of Gucci


Best Film Editing:

1. Dune

2. The Power of the Dog

3. Belfast

4. Licorice Pizza

5. West Side Story

Alt: King Richard


Best Production Design:

1. Dune

2. Nightmare Alley

3. The French Dispatch

4. Nightmare Alley

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alt: Belfast


Best Sound:

1. Dune

2. West Side Story

3. No Time To Die

4. The Power of the Dog

5. Tick, tick… Boom!

Alt: Spiderman: No Way Home


Best Hair And Makeup:

1. Dune

2. The Eyes of Tammy Faye

3. Cruella

4. House of Gucci

5. Cyrano

Alt: Nightmare Alley


Best Original Score:

1. Dune

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The French Dispatch

4. Parallel Mothers

5. No Time To Die

Alt: Don’t Look Up


Best Song:

1. No Time To Die, No Time To Die

2. Encanto, Dos Oruguitas

3. King Richard, Be Alive

4. Belfast, Down To Joy

5. Don’t Look Up, Just Look Up

Alt: Respect, I Am Signing My Way Home


Best Visual Effects:

1. Dune

2. Spiderman: No Way Home

3. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

4. The Matrix Resurrections

5. No Time To Die

Alt: Godzilla vs. Kong