Drive My Car


D: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Bitters End / C&I / Culture Entertainment (Teruhisa Yamamoto)

Japan 🇯🇵 2021

179 mins


W: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi [based on the short story by Haruki Murakami]

DP: Hidetoshi Shinomiya

Ed: Azusa Yamazaki

Mus: Eiko Ishibashi

Hidetoshi Nishijima (Yüsuke Kafuku), Tōko Miura (Misaki Watari), Masaki Okada (Kōji Takatsuki), Reika Kirishima (Otu Kafuku), Park Yu-rim (Lee Yo-ha)

Three hours long and Japanese, Drive My Car is most certainly a film you’d need to be in the mood for, as it feels every minute of the 179 minute running time.

Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami from his “Men Without Women” anthology, a series of stories where men have lost the women in their lives.  In this particular story, a theatre actor & director tackles a new production of Chekhov’s play “Uncle Vanya” following the death of his wife, but one of the conditions of employment from the producers is that he is appointed a chauffeur to drive his beloved Saab, which he even disliked his late wife driving.

The plot parallels the events of Chekhov’s classic play, so it would be hugely beneficial to have either seen or read it, but it can still be accessed without knowledge of the work. I personally haven’t seen or read it, and only have knowledge that it’s about a belligerent older man struggling with the events of life and those around him.  Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this movie on the strength of its performances, direction and dialogue, particularly between the lead character and both his wife and the chauffeur who he develops a strong friendship with.

This certainly won’t be a film for everyone, even if you can handle foreign language films with subtitles as it is a very long film, but if you can get through the prologue that provides back story and characterisation before the opening credit sequence (that comes in around the 40 minute work), I’d imagine that you’d be impressed with what follows.

A deserved winner of the Best International Film Oscar for 2021.


Drive My Car
Drive My Car