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explanation of the end of the movie drive my car & Topics Discussed: The world would not know Japanese filmmaker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi were it not for the many accolades his latest film “Drive My Car” has received since its premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Although the film lost the esteemed palm d’or before julia ducournau’s tempting “titane”, won gold with the best screenplay award at the festival.
a few months later and now an academy award nominated film in 4 categories – tied in with a nomination for best picture, best director, best international feature film and best adapted screenplay – drive my car is not a film to be considered soon be forgotten.
Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name from his 2014 “Men Without Women” collection, Hamaguchi’s film is nearly 3 hours long. So, to fill in the gaps in the narrative with a feather band of genuine emotional warmth, the filmmaker also draws inspiration from other stories in Murakami’s anthology.
Basically, a movie like Drive My Car isn’t a hard nut to crack. but, since you’re already here, I’m sure you want some of its sweet and mysterious beauty to be unraveled for you. Please note that this article will be full of spoilers that could ruin your experience, so be careful what you’re getting into.
drive my car movie synopsis & summary:
drive my car is a film about yûsuke kafuku (hidetoshi nishijima), a grieving theater director who recently lost his wife oto (reika kirishima) due to a sudden brain hemorrhage. It’s been 2 years since oto died, and when yusuke first found out that she was cheating on him.
yusuke, who is a multilingual theater director, is invited to do a residency at a theater festival in hiroshima. The director is supposed to make an ambitious recreation of Anton Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya, and the entire casting and rehearsal process is the crux of this story.
two other key characters serve as an important pillar in driving my car. The first of whom is Misaki Watari (Tôko Miura), an often-silent 24-year-old driver who is forcibly assigned to drive Yusuke to and from his temporary residence which is an hour’s drive from the city. festival venue. . the second is kôshi takatsuki (masaki okada), a young actor who traveled to hiroshima after a recent scandal left him striking out on his own, with yusuke’s work as a kind of last resort for his career in jeopardy.
there is a story between takatsuki and yusuke that little by little is being discovered; As Miura becomes a silent companion accompanying Yusuke as the duo find solace in each other’s past and the regrets that haunt them each day. As tensions rise between actor and director, past wounds reopen, engulfing the driving duo with new revelations.
drive my car thus becomes a tender and melancholy form in which pain follows us. leading us to a totally intimate and cathartic moment of acceptance where film and reality dwell together and form new meanings for those who can look through.
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why was oto cheating on yusuke?
As far as we know by following the narrative to the end, oto and yusuke had a happy family, until they lost their daughter to pneumonia. It is not said explicitly, but in one of the conversations that Yusuke has with Takatsuki, it appears that Oto lost his ability to write and think about his scripts when his daughter died.
It is clear that the loss and subsequent trauma had a more profound effect on oto than on yusuke. he went into depression and only after time passed did he realize that he still had a lot of stories in his head. the only thing is that they only dated when she had sex, a publication that she did not remember after waking up.
While this doesn’t have to be the reason he cheated on kafuku, there may be a slight desire and curiosity as to how the stories changed with a different partner. As far as cheating on him is concerned, it can be attributed to the fact that he is a deeply flawed and broken person like most of us. a broken person is always looking for things that can fix them. That is why he might have taken the step of finding some sort of answer and purpose in the much younger Takatsuki.
why didn’t yusuke confront oto for cheating on him?
yusuke realizes for the first time that oto is cheating on him when one of his flights is unexpectedly canceled and he has to return home. when he gets home and unlocks the door with his key, he hears noises coming from his living room.
Stealthily he advances and finds his wife in the middle of intercourse with the young actor Takatskuki. However, instead of confronting the two of them right there, Yusuke slowly walks out of the house, gets into his car, and drives away. then she takes a room in a hotel in the city and lies to oto about arriving at his destination while being totally casual about his day.
now i personally think yusuke’s reasons for not confrontation have to do with his calm and laid back personality. he is not one of those people who instantly reacts or gets agitated by something wrong in their lives. however, we can feel that he is preparing to confront his wife with some kind of unseen frustration building up inside him. the accident and subsequent vision problem can be seen as a metaphorical manifestation of this heaviness that he is feeling.
the fact that his wife dies of a brain hemorrhage moments before they both had a ‘talk’ is what prompts me to drive my car to a corner that can talk about the slow rotten effects of not talking to someone when one should have, and the invisible weight of guilt around our necks like an albatross.
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what scandal ruined takatsuki’s career and left him with bloated, impulsive heartbreak?
Takatsuki’s character has been portrayed as someone eager to interact with people. The first time we see him meeting Yusuke, he is accompanied by Oto, who introduces him as a promising young actor.
The next time we see him is during the sexual encounter with Oto; although that does not leave any kind of impact on the viewer, we understand that the young man has an affinity for the opposite sex and sees it as an incursion or an adventure.
The same is seen again when he auditions with a co-star. although they do not share the same dialect, we know that there is something between them. this in turn tells us that he is distracted and impulsive in his decisions.
Throughout the second and third parts of the film, we also see him get very angry at passersby who click on his photo. only later did we find out that he is now freelancing because he was kicked out of major acting jobs due to an allegation that he had sex with a minor.
The third act, particularly the time before Uncle Vanya’s final performance, shows him being caught by the local police for having previously assaulted a person who was clicking his photos. The person he violently assaulted is dead and he is arrested, leaving Yusuke to take on the lead role he had been avoiding until now.
why didn’t yusuke introduce himself as uncle vanya in the play he’s directing?
The biggest question on the minds of the festival organizers and other actors who eventually take part in the play is why Yusuke decided not to play the main character even though he is well versed in it.
We see him practicing lines from the play in his quiet moments while driving or sitting in his car, but when it comes to playing the part, yusuke chooses takatsuki over himself. The answer to this question is quite simple. we hear yusuke mention that uncle vanya’s story has an existential effect on the person who represents it. Since the story, firstly because of his great loss in life and secondly because of his regrets, feels eerily familiar, he makes the decision to let Yusuke carry the burden of the text with him. p>
It’s not an act of revenge per se, but it definitely feels like an implication.
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explanation of drive my car movie themes:
a journey forward to look inside:
much of my car driving takes place in the front or back seat of yusuke’s beloved red saab 900. two of the people driving the car are polar opposites in character traits, and yet their journeys are similar.
Throughout the film, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi tries to introduce us to them little by little. both misaki and yusuke have suffered the loss of a loved one in their lives. and in trying to distract themselves from the tragedy they have kept themselves busy with one thing or another. For Misaki, it’s driving from one place to another, and for Yusuke, it’s finding refuge in his art.
Then their forward journey together boils down to the moment of complete catharsis as the two drive to Misaki’s old house. they look inward and realize they’ve been so busy trying to understand others that they haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on inside them.
the invisible weight of guilt and regret:
Both misaki and yusuke also carry the tumultuous weight of guilt and regret on their shoulders. they both blame themselves for the loss they have experienced in their lives, and because of that, they have felt like empty shells that cannot be filled by any kind of destruction.
drive my car finds them facing their guilt and regret to recover from their flawed and broken existence. misaki’s regret comes from not saving her mother when her house is destroyed by a landslide. she also talks about her mother’s split personality and how she only connected with the one of them closest to her age and understood her. the other was an abusive mother who couldn’t fathom the misery her life had to offer.
Similarly, Yusuke blames himself for his wife’s death. he didn’t work things out with her, especially the idea of her cheating on him was left in a flux that didn’t come to a proper conclusion. this left him with the guilt of not confronting her and making amends with her prior to her accidental death.
art as a form of catharsis, shield and escape:
More than anything, art is an escape. an escape from reality that is difficult for us to understand or live. in drive my car, yusuke, and in some metaphysical way director ryusuke hamaguchi uses it as a mode, a vessel to permeate his own insecurities and guilt in life.
I’m not sure if it means hamaguchi, but the absence in his character’s life is filled through his constant guilt for relating it to the play he’s performing. uncle vanya and waiting for godot are two literary works that form the core of this narrative and carry it forward. somehow, the loss and emptiness that yusuke feels are constantly filled by him in relation to the miseries faced by the characters in the play.
so you use this art form and try to protect yourself from the trauma and guilt you are trying to repress. we see that yusuke is putting on works that are multilingual in nature. the fact that all of these languages share a key connection that still makes them feel, make and appreciate art, in the same way, allows art to be cathartic and sometimes moving.
somehow director hamaguchi also criticizes the idea that people don’t watch “foreign language movies” because they are not in the dialect they speak. in turn, arguing why they still deserve to have a place in their lives, sleeping with their own personal victories and losses.
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drive my final car explained:
After yusuke and misaki drive to misaki’s old house and have their time to finally face their guilt, the movie sees yusuke assuming the empty role of uncle vanya and leading it towards a thrilling climax. we’re not left with the appreciation he gets from the audience or how his success shapes his future. instead the last sequence is set in korea and by the looks of it is set in the current covid era.
We see misaki shopping for groceries at a local supermarket before leaving to catch up with yusuke’s red saab 900. Yusuke is nowhere to be seen, but in the backseat of the car, we see a dog that now appears to be Misaki’s partner.
Now, there may be two ways to view and interpret this ending.
one, we can assume that yusuke lost his sight due to his problem, and misaki received the car, or second, yusuke gave the car to misaki because he once told her that he liked it a lot.
I’d like to guess that the second is a bigger possibility, as giving the car to misaki would mean that yusuke would finally put his past behind him, as the car was the only thing left in his life that reminded him of it.
Similarly, when Misaki takes off her mask in the car towards the end, we see that the scar on her face is gone. can be taken as a sign that she finally got rid of that scar and her past as well and moved on in life.
The dog also resembles the dog he saw at the couple’s house and loved, meaning he has left his empty, soulless existence behind. this can be seen in the big smile he has on his face as he walks away from him.
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drive my car (2021) links – imdb, rotten tomatoesdrive my car (2021) cast – hidetoshi nishijima, tôko miura, reika kirishima, toshiaki inomata
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