Drive My Car
A renowned stage actor and director learns to cope with his wife's unexpected passing when he receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima.
This is a long film (three hour run-time) based on a short-story. It's told in 6 languages (including Korean sign-language) and spans 2 years. A theatre actor discovers his wife is having an affair, before he can confront her she dies. He's destroyed with guilt and grief and seems to be drifting aimlessly until he is asked to direct a play in Hiroshima.
The film then follows him as he auditions actors for the roles, develops the staging, manages relationships etc all while still grieving his wife. When he starts his work he is surprised to learn that the job comes with a driver who will bring him to and from the theatre every day. At first their relationship is a bit strained but the slowly become friends and they start to discuss their pasts. Every support character is well-written and every story plays out in a satisfying way.
I know the above isn’t really selling this film but I think it’s the best thing I’ve watched this year. The slow pace let’s everything reveal itself gradually but at just the right speed. The cast are all excellent, it looks amazing - all empty streets at night, beautiful interiors and nice Japanese countryside - there’s a great soundtrack and a perfect ending.