Stranger Says: In Driveways, a mother and son travel to her dead sister’s suburban house to clean it out. Turns out said sister was a hoarder, and there is a lot of work to be done. While Kathy (Hong Chau) cleans out the house, 8-year-old Cody (Lucas Jaye) explores the neighborhood and makes friends with its denizens. Widower Del (Brian Dennehy) lives next door, and Cody starts hanging out with him while his mom is dealing with years of accumulated stuff. Kathy is a single mother and Cody’s dad isn’t reliably in the picture, so Cody is drawn to Del. As gruff Del and sensitive Cody spend more time together, the older man opens up to the boy, gives advice, and lays out his life philosophy. Overall, Driveways is nicely balanced—the actors are great, the child protagonist is not annoying, and it is an interesting story that isn’t cliché. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
SIFF Says: Andrew Ahn (SIFF 2016’s SPA NIGHT) directs this bittersweet drama about a sensitive Asian-American boy who, over a summer in upstate New York, helps his mother clean out her recently deceased sister’s house and becomes friends with the reclusive retiree next door.