Drive My Car won best international feature at the 94th U.S. Academy Awards on March 27 2022.
Drive My Car was made based on the novel “Men Without Women” by Haruki Murakami.
This novel was selected as one of the favorite books in 2019 by former president Barack Obama.
I haven’t read the novel yet but I watched the movie and had a good impression.
I introduce the summary of Drive My Car and ending here.
※ This article includes spoiler, so please skip if you don’t want to know it and hopefully come back after watching the movie
Summary of Drive My Car
Screenwriter Oto tells her husband Kafuku about the story of a high school girl who sneaks into room of her classmate whom she loves almost everyday and steals just one thing each time.
Oto and Kafuku had a good relationship but one night when Kafuku went back home he witnessed Oto cheating.
He did nothing, just closed the door and went outside.
He never tell her what he saw and kept good relationship like before.
One day, Oto tells him she has something important to tell at night.
When he got back home late night, she had been collapsed on the floor.
She was already dead.
It was subarachnoid bleeding.
He couldn’t know what she was going to tell him and the end of the story of a high school girl.
The girl was not discovered but one day someone came open the door when she was inside the room.
That was the last story Oto told him.
Kafuku keeps working as a stage director and gets a job of theater festival in Hiroshima Prefecture.
He always drives his car by himself but had to leave driving to a driver Misaki during the job under a certain rule by theater festival.
With time, he came to know Misaki’s background and found Misaki lost her mother.
They both had regret.
It was not only the regret of losing something important but ignored their real emotion to keep them safe.
Kafuku pretended not to see the real.
He ignored real emotion.
He also heard the end of the story from an actor Takatsuki who had a relationship with Oto.
The person who opened the door was not her classmate or family member but a thief.
She killed the thief and thought she would be arrested soon.
But she could lead usual school life the next day.
The classmate, who’s room she sneaked into, was just as he always was.
She made a serious crime but nothing happened.
She appears in front of the surveillance camera attached to the classmate’s house and shouts “I killed him!!” again and again.
Ending of Drive My Car
Face yourself and Accept Real Emotion
Takatsuki also loved Oto and told Kafuku the end of the story of a high school girl.
She wad finally discovered in her classmate’s room but the person who found her was also a thief.
After scrimmage, she kills the thief.
She went to school the next day.
She wanted to know how her classmate reacted to that.
But nothing happened.
Everything was same.
So, she appears in front of the surveillance camera of the classmate’s house and shouts “I killed him” repeatedly.
Takatsuki tells Kafuku that it is impossible to read all the thoughts even if they love each other deeply.
He adds that although it is impossible to understand totally others’ emotion, at least, you are able to look into your heart if you try hard.
If you really want to look or understand others, you have to face yourself, he adds.
When he caught her with another man, he pretended not to see that.
He put the lid when he should have been hurt.
That’s when he lost her in a real meaning.
The story Oto told him was a sign of her shout.
Look at me, do not ignore me and yourself.
His car’s driver Misaki in Hiroshima also lost her single mother.
Her mother had a mental disease and hit her often.
Only when her mental became 8-year-old girl called Saki, Misaki took care of her and liked her, actually.
One day, landslide crushed her house and she crawled out from the house.
She could help her mother inside or ask for help but she didn’t.
What left to her after the accident was only car.
Like living down everything, she left her house and kept driving South to get to Hiroshima.
They both lost something important.
That was not only losing someone special.
They left their emotion.
They could not face to themselves when they should have been so.
Last Scene in South Korea
In the last scene, Misaki goes shopping at a supermarket in South Korea and drives the same red car Kafuku kept with her dog in the passenger seat.
No one knows why Misaki lives in South Korea.
Some people say Misaki’s mother might have been Korean resident in Japan.
That’s why she was lonely and got a mental disease.
But there is no concreate evidence.
The shooting was to made all in South Korea first.
Due to the pandemic they had to change the location from South Korea to Japan although the set of original novel is in Tokyo.
Maybe, they wanted to shoot at least last scene in South Korea based on the original plan.
What we can easily imagine is Misaki still has a good relationship with Kafuku.
Although I’m not sure they are couple or just friends.
Some people say the dog is the same dog their friends kept.
If so, Misaki and Kafuku might be visiting their house.
But I felt like the dog was different.
They might started keeping their own dog.
What I could find was Misaki, who always had an expressionless face, was smiling.
I felt she and Kafuku started new life.
My impression on Drive My Car
What I felt was the theme overlapped with one of the themes I was writing in my e-book.
It was “to face yourself”.
People tend to see outside or others when something happened but we need to see ourselves.
The answer always lies within you.
Cheating is not a good thing but Oto wanted Kafuku to look at her.
Talk inside car with Takatsuki and talk with Misaki made him realize.
Drive My Car is not a dramatic movie but calm and has Japanese Ma (Japanese concept of space and time) in it.
If you like Drive My Car, I also recommend you “Okuribito (Departures)”.
It also won the Academy Award in 2009.
Like Drive My Car, it is calm but beautiful story.
Drive My Car
Official Website (Japanese)
https://dmc.bitters.co.jp/ (Original Work : Haruki Murakami, Director : Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Producer : Teruhisa Yamamoto, Scriptwriter : Takamasa Oe)