The young filmmaker Andrew Ahn is praised for his remarkably keen eye and ability to uncover truth and nuance in his directorship, which continues to be is evident in his latest feature film DRIVEWAYS. Honored to collaborate with such talented screenwriters as Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, Ahn knew when he read the script for the first time he saw the potential for a great movie. Ahn says, "I was struck by its tone and the gentle quality in when the narrative unfolded." Ahn was in awe of the character journeys expressed on the written page. He continues, "It was such a beautiful read, it almost felt strange that it ended."
Kathy (Hong Chau) and her young son Cody (Lucas Jaye) travel in order to handle business after learning Kathy is the next-of-kin to take care of her sister's earthly possessions. Kathy didn't have a close relationship to her sister and actually knew very little about her. All that changed when Kathy begins to deal with her sister's estate. Her plan to quickly clean and sell her sister's house and belongings hits a roadblock. Kathy and Cody arrive and are shocked to see that a hoarder lived in the sister's house thus deflating Kathy’s notion of a quick or easy clean-up job.
Kathy was disgusted at the sight, not to mention angry and terribly confused by the lack of care of the remnants visible of her sister's possessions. Every day Kathy is forced to put herself in her sister's shoes and try to imagine what series of events transpired in her life to cause such a tragic life-style. So many questions with so few answers.
The deeper Kathy cleaned, the more engrossed she became in searching for answers through memorabilia. Cody helped his mom when she asked but Kathy knew this was no place for a kid to be all day long. She encouraged him to seek out other kids in the neighborhood for companionship, but shy kids don't do that. However, Cody did find a friend to hang with just across the driveway from his Aunt's house, in the elderly gentlemen next door named Del (Brian Dennehy). Del was a Korean War vet and since the passing of his wife he’s lived alone.
Cody and Del have several things in common in spite of their differences in age--mainly loneliness. As it turns out, their relationship had time to develop over a summer instead of what was intended to be just a short week. Del was able to be of influence in the mother-son team, and the two were able to give Del purpose. The tidbits of insight Del shared with Kathy about her sister were only that of a good neighbor. And, left more to their terms of endearment.
The most unfortunate time comes for Kathy, Cody and Del to end their living arrangement and how they deal with this narrative is a lesson in life to be realized.