Gentle sincerity reverberates throughout this relevant tranche de vie. 


Lucas Jaye and Brian Dennehy


It’s hard to believe that the late, versatile character actor Brian Dennehy didn’t begin his film career until the age of thirty-nine. With hundreds of acting credits to his name, Dennehy garnered Olivier, Tony and Golden Globe awards throughout a distinguished career. Often playing authority figures or ‘everyman’ roles, his filmography includes titles such as First Blood (1982), Silverado (1985), Cocoon (1985), The Belly of an Architect (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Knight of Cups (2015). Although subsequent films have yet to be released posthumously, Andrew Ahn’s Driveways is undoubtedly Dennehy’s swansong.


After the death of her estranged sister, Kathy (Hong Chau) and her eight-year-old son Cody (Lucas Jaye) venture from Michigan to Upstate New York to clean and sell her property. Preparing the house - packed to the brim after a lifetime of hoarding - proves no small task. As they settle in for summer-long work, Cody befriends the neighbour, Del (Brian Dennehy), a retired Korean war veteran and solitary widower. Made all the more poignant by Dennehy’s recent passing, Driveways is a coming-of-age story centered on an unlikely, but ultimately necessary friendship. Delicate and deeply affecting, the film demonstrates how small acts of kindness and connection are perhaps the most meaningful moments in life.     


The cinematography of Ki Jin Kim is filled with warm, rich hues that evoke sepia-toned summer memories. Director Andrew Ahn has expertly crafted a slice-of-life that illuminates the importance of the simple, quiet moments and the ageless journey of discovery. The use of space within the frame contrasts the cluttered house with the wide open possibility of a summer day. Driveways become a division to risk crossing and a place to gather. With a nuanced script by Hannah Bos and Paul Thereen, the film works its simple charms in slow, surprising ways. Dennehy lives through his eyes in a performance that cements his legacy as one of America’s finest actors. Newcomer Jaye is a natural talent and Broadway veteran Christine Ebersole shines as nosy neighbour lady Linda. And the film itself is a whispered yet powerful reminder to say the unsaid and to take the time we have.




Cast: Hong Chau, Lucas Jaye, Brian Dennehy, Christine Ebersole, Jerry Adler, Sophia DiStefano, Stan Carp.


Dir Andrew Ahn, Pro Joe Pirro, James Schamus, Nicolaas Bertelsen, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Screenplay Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, Ph Ki Jin Kim, Pro Des Charlotte Royer, Ed Katherine McQuerry, Music Jay Wadley, Costumes Matthew Simonelli.


CinemaWerks/Allusionist Picture House/Electric Panda Entertainment-FilmRise.

83 mins. USA. 2019. Rel: 7 May 2020 on VOD. No Cert.