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Is Drive-Away Dolls a Coen Brothers Movie?


Drive-Away Dolls is the most recent movie from director Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers fame. The film stars Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan as Jamie and Marian respectively, two lesbian buddies who go on a highway journey to Flordia after they’ve discovered themselves at crossroads of their life. As a result of a mistake at a automotive firm they find yourself in possession of a car with briefcase crammed with secret contents that discover themselves being pursued by a gaggle of mobsters. Coen wrote the script along with his spouse, Tricia Cooke.

Regardless of the title Ethan Coen, his brother Joel Coen shouldn’t be concerned with the film. Drive-Away Dolls may appear to be different Coen Brothers motion pictures like Elevating Arizona, The Large Lebowski or Burn After Studying however it’s notably not a Coen Brother’s film. Why does the newly launched movie inform us concerning the brothers work collectively and the way they work aside?

Why Drive-Away Dolls Is Not a “Coen Brothers” Film

Drive-Away Dolls

Drive-Away Dolls


Launch Date
February 23, 2024

1hr 24min

A narrative of two girls going south.

Regardless of Ethan Coen being one half of the Coen Brothers, the movie shouldn’t be a Coen Brothers collaboration. The final movie the brothers labored on collectively was 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Since then the brothers have labored on their very own initiatives, however a current report counsel they are going to collaborate once more on an upcoming horror movie. It’s unclear precisely why the duo stopped directing collectively, it has allowed for some attention-grabbing examinations of their filmmaking kinds and what defines every director.

Associated: A Severe Man: The Most Underrated Coen Brothers Film, Defined

Whereas each of their solo movies spotlight a felony aspect, the tones are drastically totally different. Ethan Coen went for a extra comedic tackle an authentic story thought, whereas Ethan wished to place a brand new spin on a traditional play. Drive-Away Dolls is an authentic story like lots of the Coen Brothers classics (Elevating Arizona, Burn After Studying, A Severe Man), whereas Joel Coen tailored The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakspeare, just like adapting Charles Portis’s True Grit, Cormac McCarthy’s No Nation for Outdated Males, Homer’s The Odyess for O Brother, The place Are Thou.

Ethan Coen Finds a New Co-Director in Tricia Cooke

Whereas Ethan Coen is credited as the only director of Drive-Away Dolls, screenwriter Tricia Cooke could be very a lot the co-director of the movie. That is similar to how, till 2003, Joel Coen obtained the only directing credit score on all the Coen Brothers’ movies, and Ethan was a producer attributable to guild guidelines by the Administrators Guild of America as they weren’t a longtime directing duo in the beginning of their careers and that could be a requirement to share the directing credit score. Beginning in 2004, they have been capable of obtain twin credit score.

Cooke identifies as lesbian and queer. Whereas she is married to Ethan Coen and the duo has youngsters, they’ve additionally developed a contemporary relationship in that each produce other companions whereas nonetheless being married. Drive-Away Dolls attracts closely on Cooke’s personal experiences in lesbian bars within the late Nineties and early 2000s, so it is sensible how and why she would have a sure degree of inventive management on the undertaking even when she shouldn’t be credited as a director, it’s as a lot her film as all the earlier Coen Brother movies have been Ethan’s when Joel was the one one credited.

Earlier than Cooke and Coen married, she had labored with them as a co-editor on seven of their movies: Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Large Lebowski, O Brother, The place Artwork Thou, and The Man Who Wasn’t There. In 2003 with the discharge of Intollerable Cruelty, she stepped away from modifying to spend time together with her children whereas the brothers edited underneath the psyednom Roderick Jaynes. Cooke and Coen had been attempting to develop Drive-Away Dolls because the 2000s with Allison Anders (Grace of My Coronary heart) set to direct, however they by no means have been capable of get a large enough finances for the movie as many studios have been skeptical about placing greater than a microbudget or a pair million into an LGBTQ+ comedy.

Drive-Away Dolls has setups just like these of different Coen Brothers motion pictures. The truth that the duo are being chased by hitman after they get a prime secret transient case is similar to No Nation for Outdated Males. But as an alternative of being a darkish neo-Western that could be a suspenful drama, this movie is a light-weight hearted lesbian comedy with raunchy units ups and has the extra absurd visuals and characters of films like The Large Lebowski. Even the movies final reveal of what’s within the briefcase performs extra just like the punchline of Burn After Studying being nothing is discovered.

Ethan Coen has an curiosity within the crime drama tales, however ones with colourful solid of comedic characters which primarily based off his brother’s solo movie, may clarify an attention-grabbing dynamic in how the administrators work collectively.

Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth May Reveal The Two Brother’s Model

Followers of the Coen Brothers have a tendency to note how their movies are inclined to commerce off tonally between drama and comedy. They have an inclination to trade-off by way of what they sort out. No Nation for Outdated Males was then adopted by the comedic Burn After Studying. After the comedic A Severe Man, they determined to sort out the grounded Western, True Grit. Inside Llweyn Davis and Hail Caesar! are each movies that discover the world of leisure, with the previous being a chilly fall/winter vibes drama of the East Coast with the latter a vibrant absurd comedy set within the heat glow of Hollywood.

After the brothers cut up as much as do their very own undertaking, it’s becoming they every tackled one facet of the type they’d discovered for themselves. Ethan Coen made the wacky comedy crime movie, whereas Joel Coen made The Tragedy of Macbeth. The black and white adaptation of the play by William Shakespeare is a far cry from motion pictures like Fargo, Barton Fink or The Hudsucker Proxy. The one time the Coen’s had accomplished black and white was in The Man Who Wasn’t There, which is the movie that feels probably the most tonally in frequent with The Tragedy of Macbeth.

The Tragedy of Macbeth has the darkish mature character drama like Blood Easy, Miller’s Crossing, and No Nation for Outdated Males. It additionally options some unimaginable high-concept spectacle design that’s just like the formidable scale of O Brother, The place Artwork Thou. Whereas the most important distinction between Drive-Away Dolls and The Tragedy of Macbeth may look like between comedy and drama that’s discovered amongst their movies, that’s solely a floor element. The largest is the characters.

Ethan Coen’s Drive-Away Dolls has flawed characters that typically can do despicable issues, from dishonest to even homicide, however there does look like a likability to them that not solely do you root for them however you emphasize with them. That is just like how characters in The Large Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy and Elevating Arizona are, ones the place the audiences desires to see them get some semblance of a contented ending. In the meantime The Tragedy of Macbeth is a narrative crammed with despicable characters who will all meet a tragic finish by their very own doing, as seen in movies like Fargo, No Nation for Outdated Males and Miller’s Crossing.

Associated: The Coen Brothers: How the Administrators Dissect American Tradition

Ethan Coen movie Drive-Away Dolls is a continuation of the Coen Brothers enjoyable lighthearted foolish absurdist comedies with colourful characters caught in unimaginable conditions. In the meantime Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is for followers who love the extra introspective somber dramas with criminals who’re conspiring towards each other in a bleak world the place the one final result is, because the title fittingly says, tragedy.

Drive-Away Dolls sadly has been a field workplace disappointment. This may be chalked as much as a poor advertising marketing campaign and the truth that audiences have been saving up their cash to see Dune: Half Two and noticed this comedy as much less worthy of speeding out to see on the massive display. Regardless of a low opening weekend and a polarizing CinemaScore, there’s a sturdy probability that Drive-Away Dolls will achieve a cult following like a few of Ethan’s collaborations along with his brother Joel, like The Large Lebowski and Blood Easy. If the Coen Brothers filmography has confirmed something, it’s that field workplace shouldn’t be all the time the top of the story.

Drive-Away Dolls is presently enjoying in theaters.

Take a look at our interview with Geraldine Viswanathan and Beanie Feldstein relating to Drive-Away Dolls.




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