DRIVE MY CAR*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and his wife Oto (Reika Kirishima) finishing having sex. Oto begins to tell Yusuke of an idea for a play that she has conceived, telling her story in great detail.
Yusuke is a stage director and actor. At work after a production of “Waiting For Godot”, Oto introduces him to her coworker, Koji Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), who is a fan of Yusuke’s work.
Yusuke is set to travel for a new play and bids farewell to Oto. Just as he gets to the airport, he is told that his flight has been canceled. He returns home and finds his wife having sex with another man. He steps away quietly and never brings it up to her. Yusuke stays at a hotel and pretends to have taken the flight as he talks to Oto over video chat.
After Yusuke “returns”, he and Oto visit the doctor and learn that Yusuke has glaucoma. He is given medicine to slow down the progression. Afterwards, Yusuke and Oto go to honor their deceased daughter. They later have sex, where Oto tells Yusuke more of her story ideas.
One day, Oto tells Yusuke that she wants to talk to him. He drives around and listens to a recording of “Uncle Vanya”, which he is set to perform in as the role of Vanya. When he returns home, he finds Oto dead on the floor, having passed away from a brain hemorrhage. When Yusuke attempts to perform in “Uncle Vanya”, he has a breakdown in the middle of his performance.
Two years later, Yusuke has moved to Hiroshima. He has accepted a job to direct a production of “Uncle Vanya” using actors who speak different languages. However, he is told he cannot drive himself due to his condition, so the company has hired a young driver, Misaki Watari (Toko Miura). Although Yusuke objects to this, he sees that Misaki is a skilled driver. He rehearses the recording of “Uncle Vanya” while Misaki drives.
Yusuke begins the casting process. He meets English-speaking actress Janice Chang (Sonia Yuan), an actress using Korean sign language named Lee Yoo-na (Park Yu-rim), and Koji during auditions and adds them to the cast. He later also casts actors Roy Lucelo (Perry Dizon), Kaoru Komagata (Takako Yamamura), Ryu Jeong-eui (Ahn Hwitae), Takashi Kimura (Toshiaki Inomata), and Yumi Eto (Hiroko Matsuda). Yusuke chooses to cast Koji as Vanya, despite him being younger than the character’s age. They proceed to do a table read.
After a rehearsal, Koji invites Yusuke to a bar, where he asks about Oto and if he has been with other women, but Yusuke says sex is not the only way to approach something. It is also noted that Koji’s career has seen something of a dive lately due to his personal problems and behavior.
Following another work day, Misaki drives Yusuke and producer Kon Yoon-Su (Jin Dae-yeon) back to the latter’s home, where he invites Yusuke and Misaki in for dinner with his wife, who is revealed to be Lee. She tells Yusuke how she was drawn to the part in the play after learning about his involvement in it.
During another day of rehearsing, Koji and Janice show up late, but Koji later apologizes to Yusuke for it. Later, Yusuke asks Misaki to drive wherever. She brings him to her old job where she used to drive garbage trucks and discusses an accident that took the life of her mother. She has always felt comfortable driving. In turn, Yusuke talks to Misaki about Oto and their late daughter.
The crew acts the play out in the park. Afterwards, Koji invites Yusuke out to the bar again. He expresses his doubts about his role in the play. When they are done, Yusuke finds a young man taking a picture of him and he follows the man before running back to Yusuke and Misaki. On the drive home, Koji recounts to Yusuke how Oto had told him about a story that she had come up with, which she had done during sex with Yusuke. While Koji mentions that he deeply cared for Oto, he never explicitly confirms if he did or did not sleep with her.
Police show up to rehearsals for Koji, as he had apparently assaulted the man who took his picture. After bringing him to the station, Yusuke learns that the man that Koji hit has died from his injuries, and so the role of Vanya is empty. One of the producers suggests to Yusuke that he take over the role, but he says he needs time to think.
Yusuke later rides with Misaki again, this time in the passenger seat. They both express guilt for the deaths of their loved ones, as Misaki blames herself for her mother’s death and believes she could have done something to prevent the accident, while Yusuke wishes he could have talked to Oto about her infidelity. Misaki drives them to the ruins of her old home where her mother died so that she may place flowers there. Yusuke cries as he talks about Oto, and he and Misaki hug each other.
The production of “Uncle Vanya” goes on with Yusuke as Vanya. He shares an emotional scene with Lee, and the performance receives applause.
Sometime later, Misaki is now in Korea. She is driving the same red Saab as Yusuke had, and she now has a dog.
Yusuke Kafuku is a stage actor and director, married to Oto. He knows that she cheats on him with other men, but he never confronts her about it. Oto later dies of a brain hemorrhage, and Yusuke is left feeling guilty for never talking to her about it.
Two years later, Yusuke is set to direct a stage production of "Uncle Vanya". Because he has glaucoma, he is made to be driven around by a young woman named Misaki Watari. Throughout the production, Yusuke bonds with Misaki over their shared experiences with grief, as Yusuke and Oto had lost a daughter long ago, while Misaki lost her mother in an accident and blames herself because she believes she could have saved her. Yusuke also bonds with Koji Takatsuki, a fellow actor who is implied to have slept with Oto.
After Koji is arrested for beating a man to death for taking his picture, Yusuke is asked to take on the role of Vanya. After a talk with Misaki, the two are able to reconcile their grief, and Yusuke performs as Vanya.