Tino and Anto grew up as best childhood friends
With very few specific gay scenes or interactions, Drive Me Home paints an inviting picture of a youthful friendship rekindled on the road and set in the rolling European countryside.
Agostino (Marco D’Amore) is a trucker brought back together with Antonio (Vinicio Marchioni), a wanderer traveling back to Sicily to deal with the childhood family home he inherited being auctioned off due to unpaid taxes. It was there that Tino and Anto grew up as best childhood friends dreaming of a castle where the two could live alone together.
“There’s no need to exaggerate the gay theme because homosexuality is simply a matter of fact here as shown when the two visit a bathhouse, where men with women, women with women, and men with men are simply accepted and not judged.” From this representation, it seems European culture is evolved to the point of accepting being gay as a non-issue. Well, that’s at least true for the generation depicted here. (The two are now in their thirties.)
We do later learn that one of the main character’s fathers disowned, shunned, and kicked his son out of their small rural farming town when he came out. Which one? You’ll discover later in the film.
Some other surprises I won’t spoil by revealing them here, but who is gay and who might express suppressed gay feelings, at least once, in the film will be revealed slowly and subtly. That is the tone of this film. Conversations reveal old conflicts (and sometimes solve them) as the characters interact more with dialogue than physically.
With the wandering Anto telling minor characters they encounter that he’s from “London, Berlin, Brussels” and with Tino “loading, unloading, and driving” as he travels through multiple European countries, the theme of searching is pervasive throughout this picaresque film. The dialogue reinforces that the search is not just for what’s to come (“Are you happy here?”) but also for what was lost in the past.
Anton discovers a picture of him and Tino in his childhood friend’s book with the underlined passage: “Losing something important is the most atrocious experience that a human being has to face, but it can be a precious stimulus for growth.”
When Tino and Anton are not stuck in traffic, the countryside provides the setting, within which the two main characters interact, repelling them initially but ultimately, perhaps, attracting them back to what they left behind—what was lost.
Featuring multiple languages, including English, this film is primarily in Italian with subtitles. During the rare times when English is spoken by those whose native language it is not, subtitles might have helped.
Like it’s actors with their multiple awards, this one’s a winner. It is full of love and friendship from truck stop to the countryside, and back to truck stop again. Drive Me Home will bring you to tears both happy and sad, reminding us that what we’re searching for was there all along.