Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

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8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Subtle story

Not the best Best Picture

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Driving Miss Daisy

Studio:  The Zanuck Company

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 15, 1989

MPAA Rating:  PG

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Reckon I know the way to the Piggly Wiggly, Ms. Daisy

It’s 1948, and Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) is a widowed Jewish woman living in Atlanta.  After a car accident, Daisy’s son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) decides he’s had enough and hires an African-American driver named Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman).  As the years pass and Hoke continues to drive Miss Daisy, the two slowly build a friendship that stands the test of time.

Directed by Bruce Beresford, Driving Miss Daisy adapts the 1987 Off-Broadway stage play by Alfred Uhry (who also wrote the screenplay).  The movie found critical success and was a big box-offer success due to low-budget.  The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress (Tandy), Best Writing—Adapted Screenplay, and Best Makeup with nominations for Best Actor (Freeman), Best Supporting Actor (Aykroyd), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

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…and with one quick lesson Hoke learns to read!

1989 was a tough Academy Award year.  With Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, and My Left Foot, Driving Miss Daisy was definitely the lightest and easiest film of the bunch.  I doubt that I would have picked it for Best Picture, but the film does have some moments.

Many plays and movies on subjects of race, age, and social issues try to hit you over the head with the subject, and Driving Miss Daisy takes a more gentle approach.  The story isn’t as edgy as it could be but there is a refreshing nature to the plot.  The movie touches on thing like race relations (the racist cops in Alabama and Martin Luther King Jr) and the fact that both characters are outsiders (her Jewish temple is bombed).  It isn’t talked about too much, but it has an obvious presence that is overcome in the story.

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Ms. Daisy, thanks for letting me sit with the car…

Morgan Freeman reprised his role as Hoke from the stage play, and I do feel he overdoes it at times by laying on thicker than even Miss Daisy can handle (yessum, Ms. Daisy).  The role of Miss Daisy was highly coveted and people like Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Angela Lansbury, and Katherine Hepburn wanted the role…Jessica Tandy became the oldest Best Actress winner with the role (and thankfully, the proposed Eddie Murphy and Bette Midler combo didn’t happen).  It is quite odd to see Dan Aykroyd in a serious role (especially so close to his Ghostbuster fame).

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J-E-L-L-O!!!

The movie is a very simple looking movie.  They do a good job capturing the “Old South” and the movie does look good for what it is.  The passage of time is so-so, and I do feel Morgan Freeman often looks pretty made up.  It makes you want to go for a drive to the Piggly Wiggly.

Driving Miss Daisy isn’t the best Best Picture of all time but there are definitely worse.  The ’80s had a lot of humdrum pictures and Driving Miss Daisy probably would classify as one of them.  Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like the type of movie that would have a sequel or a remake…I can’t see Driving Miss Daisy…Again! coming to theaters anytime soon.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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