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Driving Miss Daisy

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PG
1989

Driving Miss Daisy is a compelling drama-comedy movie from 1989, directed by Bruce Beresford, with exceptional performances from leading actors Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, and Dan Aykroyd. The film is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry, who crafted a culturally rich screenplay. The drama provides a profound portrayal of an unlikely friendship that blossomed between an elderly Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur during the escalating civil rights tensions in the American South. The narrative is a heart-wrenching exploration of themes such as racism, aging, friendship, and understanding, underpinned by the key question: Can friendship blossom despite prejudices in a racially-tense society? The plot transcends this minefield with a simplistic, yet profound clarity, showing that the answer is indeed a resounding yes. Set in the 1940s Atlanta, Georgia, the story revolves around the titular character, Miss Daisy Werthan, portrayed by the prolific Jessica Tandy. Miss Daisy is a cantankerous, aging, independent, and strong-willed Southern Jewish woman, who fiercely values her independence. Following a mishap, her son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), a successful businessman, arranges a chauffeur for her despite her clear disagreement. The chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, as portrayed by Morgan Freeman, with his innocent charm, sincere demeanor, and patient attitude, immediately steals the show. Hoke is a sympathetic and humble man, bearing the brunt of Miss Daisy's initial resentment and hostility with a wise and patient head on his shoulders. Yet, he remains optimistic in the face of adversity and stays committed to his task. The relationship between Miss Daisy and Hoke starts off rocky as she insists on maintaining her independence and feels unnerved by Hoke's presence. However, as the movie unfolds, we see their relationship evolve into an endearing bond of respect and friendship. Their exchanges, initially stilted and sparse, gradually become imbued with affection and understanding, and they navigate a world changing around them and the growing intimacy between them with dignity and delicacy. Their personal growth as characters is reflected in how their relationship changes. As Daisy grows to accept the reality of her old age, she also grows, albeit reluctantly, to accept Hoke not as an employee, but as a confidant and companion. On the other hand, Hoke learns to work his way around Daisy's temperament and become a pillar of support for her emotional and physical needs. Throughout the movie, the atmosphere of the racially segregated and politically heated South is subtly ingrained in the plot through its contextual relevance to the characters' lives. Thus, the societal story runs parallel to the personal one, amplifying the explorations of racial, social, and class divides. The performances by Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman are truly remarkable, their portrayals both lending depth and credibility to their characters. Tandy, with her absolute embodiment of Miss Daisy's stubborn independence, won an Academy Award for this performance. Freeman, on the other hand, brilliantly brings to life the character of Hoke with subtlety and grace, conveying a sense of earnestness and resilience. Aykroyd's Boolie serves an excellent comparator, depicting a modern man navigating his family life and societal roles in times of change. The powerful cinematography of the film deserves mention, too — the visual journey that the audience is taken through is beautifully reflective of both the internal emotional ride of the characters and the external societal situation. It magnificently captures the American South's evolution and ambiance – its societal norms, values, and complexities of the era. Driving Miss Daisy is a beautiful exploration of the dynamics of human relationships beyond the color, creed, and societal status and a sterling portrayal of aging with dignity. It portrays a timeless message about prejudice and friendship in the backdrop of racially tense America, which still holds relevance in contemporary times. The film is a testament to the power of understanding and kindness in bridging divisiveness and instilling deep-rooted respect. It's a heartfelt cinematic experience that offers a palette of emotions and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer through its warmth, empathy, and authenticity.

Driving Miss Daisy is a Drama movie released in 1989. It has a runtime of 99 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.3. It also holds a MetaScore of 81.

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7.3/10
81/100
Director
Bruce Beresford
Stars
Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Esther Rolle, Patti LuPone
Genres
Also starring Jessica Tandy
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