Opening 6 May 2021
In unfamiliar surroundings after a long drive, Kathy (Hong Chau) and eight-years-old Cody (Lucas Jaye) are caught unawares upon arrival at her older sister’s house—it is chock-a-block full. Kathy and Grace had been estranged for years, thus the strong-willed single mother’s plan was to quickly empty and sell the house she inherited. However, the motel room is expensive, so eventually Kathy’s decides to camp out at the house. A sensitive, quiet lad, Cody entertains himself as days idle away. Watching inquisitively from his front porch next-door, Del (Brian Dennehy) makes their acquaintanceship by coming to their aide. A retired widower, Del’s only daughter lives a continent away in California, so mowing the lawn and playing bingo at VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) with pals are weekly highlights. An unlikely friendship springs up between Cody and the normally curt Del; they comfortably share stretches of silence, and Cody learns the fine art of navigating a riding lawn mower. Watching, musing, before long Del and Kathy develop an easy camaraderie. As summer passes, and in his twilight years, Del learns a great deal from them, while reflecting on a lifetime of choices.
Beautifully straightforward and well constructed, Driveways is about perceptions, and the generosity of wisdom passed among generations. Independent Korean-American director Andrew Ahn’s finesse is tangible throughout in conveying Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen’s finely crafted original screenplay. The film’s message, sans nonessential verbal clutter, is startlingly impressive – beyond familial environments, each generation is capable of complementing the other. Editor Katie Mcquerrey carefully assembled cinematographer Ki Jin Kim’s insightful footage into a deliberate, perceptive film accompanied by Jay Wadley’s melodious music. Driveways’ strength is its confidence in basic human interaction being steeped in civility; it is a fitting swansong performance from Brian Dennehy (04.04.2020). This small film has a gigantic heart and will surely warm the cockles of audiences’ hearts. (VOD) (Marinell Haegelin)