Drive My Car (Japan) (7/24)

Couldn’t be me (and every other critic) out here recommending a three-hour-long Japanese film about a man riding around in a red Saab listening to his dead wife recite Uncle Vanya over a cassette tape. Last year, the adaptation of a Haruki Murakami story snuck into the Oscar’s Best Picture race to my shock and delight. While the film is quiet, its screenplay and performances will leave you glued to the screen for the entire runtime. Its slow build to a forceful climax is storytelling at its finest, and the beautiful landscape shots of the titular car sliding back and forth across the Japanese countryside are intoxicating. While this film didn’t win Best Picture, it was easily my favorite in the lineup. Never have I been so fascinated by a mixed-language performance of a Chekov play and squabbling over car insurance. If you’re only going to watch one thing on this list, please carve the time out of your calendar to make it this one.

Written by Abu Bakar

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