Review: ‘Driveways’ is genuinely moving
Five Stars out of Five
By Joanna MacGown
“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.