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The Lookout | August 5, 2021

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Review: ‘Driveways’ is genuinely moving

Review: ‘Driveways’ is genuinely moving
  • On March 23, 2021

Five Stars out of Five

By Joanna MacGown
Freelance Writer

“Driveways” is a film that excels at painting its Asian-American protagonists first and foremost as people, but secondarily just as Americans.

The 2019 film is currently available on Kanopy, a free streaming service for Capital Area District Library members.

Hong Chau and Lucas Jaye anchor the film as a mother and son who set out across the country to clear out her late sister’s house, and the lonely boy makes a friend or two along the way.

The story touches on racism, but not in the ways you initially expect. It focuses largely on the unlikely friendship between young Cody and a Korean War veteran next door (played by the late Brian Dennehy).

Honestly, this is a coming-of-age story at heart, as Cody starts to come out of his shell and make connections in a new environment.

His mom affectionately calls him “the professor” for his quiet curiosity, and his character resonated with my own childhood quite a bit. He might act reserved and seem mature for his age sometimes, but he still is a child, and it’s sad when he occasionally feels he needs to look out for his mother.

This is a story populated by characters who feel like real people, in a world that feels very lived-in and naturalistic. So when it eventually takes a turn for the dramatic, the raw emotion is devastating, even if it might seem like a trivial conflict on paper.

This movie could very easily have been just another sappy Hallmark movie, but instead it stays firmly grounded and tells a genuinely moving story about growing up.