A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes healing power of friendship; a singular relationship can change lives. Recognizes commonality and timelessness of human emotions and rejoices in shared experiences.
Positive Role Models
Older man, single mother, and boy are all compassionate, honest, resourceful, dependable at heart. Their story enhances those qualities and encourages loyalty, confidence, perseverance.
Written and directed by Andrew Ahn (who is Korean American and gay), the film follows hardworking single mom Kathy (Vietnamese American actor Hong Chau) and her son, Cody (Lucas Jaye), a sensitive biracial kid who makes friends with Latino locals his age and with a much older White neighbor, Korean War veteran Del. Viewers briefly meet Del's daughter, whom he mentions is married to "a lady friend." Subtext around Cody being queer: Someone asks Cody why he wears a necklace, Dell says that Cody "reminds him of his daughter," and Cody reads a Japanese comic book featuring two boys whom Del mistakes for girls. Mental health issues addressed in the discussion of Kathy's sister, who hoarded belongings and passed away after a seemingly lonely existence, as well as through the encroaching dementia of one of Del's fellow vets. All of the characters have layers and are treated with deep empathy.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A startling shot of a dead cat. Two bullies-in-waiting tease a vulnerable young boy.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional profanity: "f--k," "Christ," "s--t," "d--k," "horny," "hell," "pissed," "blow job."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking in several scenes, no drunkenness. A main character smokes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Driveways is a gentle drama by Korean American writer-director Andrew Ahn about hardworking single mom Kathy (Hong Chau, who is Vietnamese American), and her son, Cody (Lucas Jaye). Cody is a solitary, thoughtful 9-year-old boy who develops a friendship with the Korean War veteran across the "driveway." For the boy, that driveway is new; for the older White man, it's paved with a lifetime of memories. Each is at a decisive moment in his life; each takes tentative steps toward what will come next. Viewers can expect occasional profanity -- "f--k," "s--t," "pissed," "hell," "d--k," "Christ" -- said mostly by Kathy in frustration. Two boys in the neighborhood tease the young hero; he vomits in response. There's a startling reveal of a dead cat. A main character smokes (her son disapproves). Some alcohol is consumed in social settings (no drunkenness). Compassionately and in simple terms, the film deals with serious issues including grief, change, loneliness, sexual identity, and self-acceptance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Delivering the simplicity and honesty that only an assured director and graceful writing provides, with remarkable performances and a compelling story, this film might be an almost "perfect movie." For a story without a complex plot, there are still enough surprises and offbeat moments to keep it from being predictable. Brian Dennehy, in one of his final performances, gives a great one. He's matched scene for scene by Lucas Jaye, a child who's as wonderfully truthful and intelligent in the role as he is lovable. The evolution of their relationship, based on insight and empathy despite their ages, is the highlight of an already smart, unusual film. Driveways is director Andrew Ahn's second feature film. Highly recommended.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.