Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

It’s thirty years since this Academy Award winner for Best Picture was released and now there is even a driving service for seniors seemingly inspired by this film.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989) is about the growing relationship between a crochety elderly widow, Daisy Werthan (Best Actress winner Jessica Tandy; well-deserved), a Jew, and her humble chauffeur, Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman; superb), a Christian.

After Daisy is no longer able to drive herself, Daisy’s business-man son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd; brilliant) hires Hoke, at her initial consternation, as she prides herself on her independence.

It all happens between the 1940s and 1970s, in Georgia, USA. Daisy and Hoke develop, after a shaky start, more than an affectionate feeling towards one another, but a lasting friendship.

Even as just the chauffeur doing his job and the elderly lady being served by him, Freeman and Tandy are wonderful to watch.

There is something more to the performances of Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. It’s in their distinctly opposite characters. Fastidious lady meets mannered driver, a very entertaining watch.

On a deeper level, they draw to one another rather than draw apart. They inevitably draw closer, and the fact that one is a white Jew and the other a black man, there is something special to what’s happening to them as their lives intertwine and the writing of their lines are distinctive, clear and lucid.

On seeing this film, other films pale in comparison as it is a movie without ‘shock value’, but genuine, sincere feeling, that doesn’t seem phony or false.

A well-observed slice of life, with great characters, sharp dialogue, and perfect performances. The art direction, set decoration and music are beautifully done, as is the make-up that follows the characters through thirty-some years. Wonderful film, especially if one has a ‘Daisy’ in their lives and feels a bit like ‘Hoke’.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars + Christian-like PICK

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