Driving Miss Daisy
Release Year: 1989
Director: Bruce Beresford
Screenwriters: Alfred Uhry (based on his play)
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Esther Rolle, Patti LuPone, Joann Havrilla
Rating: Won 4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Makeup. 5 Oscar nominations: Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), Best Supporting Actor (Dan Aykroyd), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Editing. Won 3 Golden Globes: Best Picture – Comedy/Musical, Best Actress – Comedy/Musical (Jessica Tandy), Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Morgan Freeman).
In 1948 American South, an elderly Jewish woman (Jessica Tandy) has an accident in her car and her son (Dan Aykroyd) hires an African-American chauffeur (Morgan Freeman). Miss Daisy is not pleased at all by this but over the years their relationship slowly warms.
If you read the plot descriptio and think: this sounds boring, then this film probably isn’t for you. If on the other hand, a slow, quiet, and heartwarming character studie about an unlikely friendship sound like your thing, Driving Miss Daisy is just the film for you. Tandy (The Birds, 1963) is great as the hardheaded widow in a performance that one her an Oscar, but it is in the scenes opposite Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby, 2004) she really shines. The two of them is a very charming pair, Freeman’s quiet charm slowly thawing the steely eyed, but lonely woman. Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers, 1980) is good as the devoted but busy son, Boolie, who, from gentle pressure from his Christian wife, and from a desire to fit in, removes himself more and more from his Jewish heritage. As the 1950’s turns into the 1960’s we realise that Miss Daisy and her driver have more in common than just a work contract: they both belong to groups ostracised from society at a time in which society underwent significant changes. The film consists of many quiet scenes around the house or in the car, with the exception of one long road trip, and the gentle score and quiet story is moving, heartwarming, and the perfect mix of funny and sad. Driving Miss Daisy may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is a lovely piece of film making about two people and their unlikely friendship. Highly recommended.
The screenwriter and playwriter Alfred Uhry based his Pullitzer winning play on the relationship between his own grandmother and her chauffeur.
Picture Copyright: Scanbox