Set in suburbia (and filmed in Poughkeepsie), Driveways appears to be a kinder, gentler Gran Torino — a relationship flick about a young Asian-American kid (Lucas Jaye‘s “Cody”) and a crusty but benign Korean War vet (Dennehy’s “Del”) who lives next door.
Driveways began streaming today (5.7) on Amazon and iTunes.
From 4.19 San Francisco Chronicle review by G. Allen Johnson: “On its own, Driveways would be a sweet, understated masterpiece, simply told, of human connection. But with the recent death of longtime distinguished stage and movie actor Brian Dennehy, director Andrew Ahn allows us to say a proper goodbye to the big fella, who gets the final six minutes of the movie all to himself.
“Dennehy plays Del, an octogenarian widower and veteran who forms a grandfatherly relationship with the fatherless Cody (Lucas Jaye), the 8-year-old son of Kathy (Hong Chau, Downsizing, Watchmen), a single mother who, one gets the sense, doesn’t really like being a mother.
“Kathy and Cody enter Del’s life when they arrive from out of town to handle the estate of Kathy’s sister, which is mainly the run-down house next door to Del’s.
“After Cody and Del first exchange pleasantries, the standoffish Kathy gruffly warns Del, ‘I told him not to talk to strangers.’ Replies Del: ‘Good idea.’
“But Cody, craving a male figure in his life, is undeterred. With Kathy constantly preoccupied, Del and Cody bond. They talk life, and he even teaches Cody to drive (well, a riding mower). Bingo at the veterans hall is a big ninth-birthday treat for Cody.
“Although it’s not explicitly spelled out, Del sets an example for Kathy, too. She can see the change in Cody, and as she becomes more comfortable around Del, she becomes a better mother. Parenting isn’t her natural thing, but she’s warming to the idea.
“Dennehy brings [his] wealth of experience in world-weary fashion when he sits with Cody on his porch steps and launches into a monologue about his regrets, his dreams, his failures and the passing decades of life.
“His advice to Cody: ‘Drive a little slower. Take your time. Take a good look at stuff.'”