Sunday, 20 April 2014

''Driving Miss Daisy'' (1989 movie)- Review

Directed by: Bruce Beresford
Released: 1988
Country: United States

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Don Aykroyd, Patti LuPone, Esther Rolle

Genre: Comedy-drama

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


The 1989 Best Picture Oscar winner, ''Driving Miss Daisy'', tells the story of a friendship between a wealthy, elderly woman, and her African-American chauffeur. The story spans over twenty years, and at first, we see Miss Daisy, played by Jessica Tandy, as a proud, elderly woman who doesn't like having a chauffeur. She thinks that having a chauffeur is like a breach of her privacy. But over the next two decades, she forms a deep friendship with her chauffeur, played by the amazing Morgan Freeman.

At the beginning of the film, we see Miss Daisy, in her early 70s, going out for a drive, and meeting an accident. The accident is not fatal, she manages to escape unharmed. Boolie, Miss Daisy's son, orders her not to drive anymore. Miss Daisy is disheartened. Though she gets a new car, she doesn't want a chauffeur. She doesn't want anybody to drive her to places. An African-American chauffeur, Hoke (Morgan Freeman), is the appointed by Boolie. Daisy dislikes having a chauffeur, but Boolie solves the problem by telling Hoke that it will be he (Boolie), not his mother, who will be employing Hoke. As a result, Daisy might say whatever she likes, but will not be able to fire him (Hoke).

As mentioned before, Daisy dislikes having a chauffeur, and when Hoke tries to help her by dusting her bulbs or trying to clean her flower garden, she strongly orders him not to do so. Ultimately, though, she is compelled to accept to be driven by him, and over the next few days, events make her realize that she can actually trust Hoke, and gradually, they form a friendship. Daisy teaches Hoke to read (at that time {1950s} many African-Americans couldn't read or write properly). Hoke also keeps her company after her maidservant Idella dies. With the passage of time, the two form a deeper, closer, warmer friendship...

The film also explores racial discrimination. For example, a racist cop asks various questions to Hoke and Daisy while they are driving interstate to attend Daisy's elder brother's birthday. The cop wants to see Hoke's driving license and papers, and tries to ridicule Daisy's surname. The reason of this behavior is, of course, seeing an African-African man and a Jewish woman in a car. We also see various racial segregation rules of that time; for example, Hoke, being an African-African, cannot use public restrooms. 

Personally, I thought ''Driving Miss Daisy'' is really overrated. Yes, it's charming, it's bright, it's heartwarming, it's emotional and touching, but it's not what I expected from a Best Picture winner. Sure, it is a charming film and I am glad that I watched it, it is sweet and the developing friendship between Daisy and Hoke is really sweet, and Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman undoubtedly give unforgettable performances, but, still, I expected more, much more from it; I expected it to be a much deeper, much more touching film. Overall, I am glad that I watched it, and it's a sweet and charming film, but I can't say that it's a very memorable film, or that I loved it.

3.5 out of 5

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