Monday, February 20, 2017

Movie Review: "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)

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Movie"Driving Miss Daisy"
Year Nominated: 1990
Director: Bruce Beresford
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Did It Win?: Yes.

After the elderly Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) wrecks her car, her son (Dan Aykroyd) hires her a driver named Hoke (Morgan Freeman). Though Daisy is very reluctant and often quite curt with Hoke, eventually, she grows to rely on him as a helper and a friend. 

"Driving Miss Daisy" is directed by Bruce Beresford and is written by Alfred Uhry, based on his own stage play. It stars Jessica Tandy as the titular Miss Daisy Werthan, an elderly Jewish woman who strongly believes in her own independence. When she wrecks her car, her son Boolie, played by Dan Aykroyd, doesn't think she ought to be driving herself anymore since the insurance company sees her as someone who is too high risk. In response to this accident, he hires the 60-year-old Hoke, played by Morgan Freeman, to be her driver, a pretty good position for someone of his age and education. Hoke just needs to learn to cope with the ornery Miss Daisy and her very rigid, proper, old world views.

"Driving Miss Daisy" is a slice of life film all about a platonic relationship between a 72-year-old Jewish woman and a somewhat younger but still senior black man. The film starts off in 1948 in Atlanta, Georgia, and slowly spans across their 25 years relationship. Being that it takes place in the pre-civil rights south, we do see brief instances of racism and the treatment of African Americans as second class citizens. There are also some negative attitudes shown towards against Jewish Americans as well, and even the bombing of a nearby synagogue is discussed as having taken place in Miss Daisy's town. Interestingly enough, even though she doesn't view herself as prejudiced, she still regularly treats Hoke as less than an equal. It is not done intentionally or out of hatred, but because it is the status-quo and because she sees him more as an employee than a friend for much of the film.

This movie is full of some brilliant acting, and Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd were all nominated for acting awards at the Oscars for their tremendous efforts. It was Tandy, however, who snagged a much deserved win, making her the reigning oldest best actress winner ever. Alfred Uhry also took home a much deserved Oscar for his screenplay. This wasn't really a huge surprise since he had already won a Pulitzer Prize for his play. The film wound up taking home two more Academy Awards, including best picture, though it is strange that Bruce Beresford didn't even get nominated for his directing efforts, a rarity when it comes to Oscars statistics. We do really enjoy "Driving Miss Daisy" as a whole, from its characters to its dialogue, from the fantastic performances to its charm and humor. We also appreciate it for its honesty in its portraying of its characters.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
Last Oscar season, we were watching: "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

Two Oscar seasons ago, we were watching: "The Apartment"

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