Review: Drive My Car

Drive My Car screenshot

Original title: Doraibu mai kâ
Year: 2021 | Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Drive My Car is the perfect film for the time in which we live, a time in modern society in which an unprecedented number of people are losing people that they care about. Death currently surrounds us on a global scale that humans have rarely throughout history experienced all at the same time — over six million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide as of the writing of this review, nearly one million of those in the United States alone. At this point, most people now knew someone who has died during this pandemic; if not their own friend or family member, then perhaps a friend’s grandmother, or an acquaintance at work. Death has touched the lives of people who had maybe never experienced the passing of a loved one before; grief is an emotion that we know all share, regardless of the language that we speak or the place where we live.

And grief, as we all know, is perhaps the hardest emotion for us humans to process and comprehend. Unlike most other emotions, grief is not fleeting, it cannot be made better with a warm meal or a good night’s sleep or a personal day taken from work. Grief is an emotion that can permeate every single aspect of our lives over incredibly long periods of time. It can eat away at us for days, weeks, months, years, so slowly that we don’t even realize that it’s turning us into completely different people than we were before we suffered the unsurmountable loss. In some cases, it can change our entire personalities. For those it touches, its effect on the soul can be much like that of water on stone, eroding us away until we’re smooth to the touch, nothing able to stick to us any longer.

So what do we do to combat this erosion of ourselves? How do we counter a force so subtle and yet so powerful that it can alter our literal being? It’s impossible to say. We can try connecting to other people who have also been touched by grief and hope to find some solace in the camaraderie and solidarity of shared human experiences. We can find art that portrays what we are feeling and offers some reminder that we are not alone. We can revisit our keepsakes and memories of those people who have left us, and keep them “alive” in our brains and our hearts for as long as we’re able to remember.

But mostly, we just have to keep living. We have to get ourselves out of bed every morning and do the things that we need to do, and do our best to milk every moment of joy or happiness that we can from spending time with the people we still have left, or from our hobbies, or from whatever else helps us to cope with our pain. We have to do our best to try to force the unending and unrelenting river of grief to mold us into some shape that we can somehow live with for the rest of our lives, even if it doesn’t necessarily resemble the shape that we were before.

“We shall work without rest for others, both now and when we are old. And when our final hour comes, we shall meet it humbly, and there beyond the grave, we shall say that we have known suffering and tears, that our life was bitter. And God will pity us.”

Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekov

Language: Japanese, Chinese, English, German, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Tagalog, Korean Sign Language
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 2 hr. 59 min.
Rating: Unrated

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada, Reika Kirishima, Park Yu-rim

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