We reach the final scene in “Drive My Car” before some light shines in. And in a sense, like the last sequence, there is some glimmer of spring here because emotions are getting a little raw.

It begins in the car, Oto asking:

What’s the matter? You look so glum. Is it because you feel sorry for that professor?

But we don’t hear Kafuku respond, even though the camera remains on his face for a few seconds more. What follows is a scene that a New Yorker Magazine piece highlighted as a good example of how the film makes strong use of the literary source material throughout.

We hear Takatsuki’s voice respond:

Leave me alone.

And then we get the “on the nose” next line of the play from Astrov:

Or because you are in love with his wife?

Takatsuki/Vanya responds, earning a side eye glace from Kafuku even though he’s delivered the lines probably a thousand times by now:

She’s a good friend of mine.

Astrov answers:



What do you mean by already?


There’s a proper order for a woman to become a man’s friend. First she’s an acquaintance, then she’s a lover, and finally, she becomes a good friend.

At this point Kafuku is completely annoyed with Takatsuki for mouthing the lines he’s cast him to deliver, and so he starts picking on his delivery and saying his scene partner is doing it right, emulate him. After correcting him again, Janice Chang has finally had enough and comes to Takatsuki’s defense:


We’re not robots.


What do you mean?


Of course we will follow all of your instructions. But we’re not robots, and I think we’ll do better if we know what your intent is.


You don’t have to do better. Just simply read the text.

Hamaguchi is smart to have Janice lead the rebellion. She both has a crush on Takatsuki and is extremely likable. Kafuku is being a dick. Yes, sure, they don’t have to do better. But they are still owed an explanation about your intent, Kafuku.

The scene soon ends, Kafuku thanks everyone for their hard work. A few actors hang behind and joke about the odd process of rehearsals and how boring it is to just read lines. Meanwhile, deep in the frame, Janice and Takatsuki are attempting to flirt without knowing a common language.

Gong has found an excuse to get Kafuku out of the office and will soon ask him for a ride — and will ask him to come by his house so he can apologize for something. What follows is a scene of pure joy, the turning point of the film.

The Revolt