DRIVEWAYS (2020)

(Fubo/hoopla/kanopy/VOD) Kathy, a struggling Asian-American single mom travels with Cody, her pre-teen son, to settle the affairs of her dead sister’s estate. While there, the son befriends an aging-but-able Vietnam veteran, who welcomes them into his small town.

While it’s a standard indie film premise, DRIVEWAYS excels in a number of ways, first and foremost by having Brian Dennehy (RIP, Brian — I’ll never forget you in THE BELLY OF AN ARCHITECT) as the neighbor, secondly by having a simple human story play out simply and, lastly, how it’s visually framed — lots of tight shots instead of expository shots, which are disarming for the first half of the film until it settles into a familiar sort of comfort.

While Dennehy is fantastic, I’d be remiss to neglect both Hong Chau (WATCHMEN’s Lady Trieu) and Lucas Jaye as the mother-and-son pair, who have an exquisitely honest mother/son relationship. Chau is especially brilliant as she tries to compose herself as everything around her is falling apart.

All of that said, my favorite part of the film is how much everyone swears around this kid.

It’s a film filled with melancholy, but is also a very sweet slice of life.