Cast: Hong Chau, Brian Dennehy, Lucas Jaye
Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
Director Andrew Ahn follows up his award-winning Spa Night (SDAFF ’16) with another warm embrace of a movie, a tale as simple and eternal as the Hudson Valley trees, but as grounded in the tough calls and unlikely friendships of modern life. The great Hong Chau (Inherent Vice, Downsizing, American Woman) plays Kathy, visiting the country to clean out the house of her estranged sister who has just passed. In tow is Kathy’s eight-year-old son Cody, who has the solitary inquisitiveness of an only child living with a single parent. They discover a house teeming with old furniture and hoarded possessions, the remnants of a relative they barely know. They also come upon an elderly neighbor Del (Brian Dennehy), a Korean War vet learning to appreciate what companions he has left.
While DRIVEWAYS spans only a few days, it contains decades of feeling and that sinking realization that, while trapped in your own head, the years have passed you by. Ahn finds in the gentle, comic rhythms of everyday small-town life a reason to slow down and admire moments you’ll never have back: a ninth birthday celebration, a bingo victory, a pizza party in the dark. For Kathy, it’s about no longer shielding her son from death and strangers, while giving herself the space to curse and smoke. For Del, it’s that feeling of having a kid on the porch again. And for Cody, who has so much more life ahead of him, it’s about looking forward to the many more places to go and strangers to befriend.