DRIVING MISS DAISY [1989] movie review

December 31, 2011 · Print This Article

It is not surprising that I only watched DRIVING MISS DAISY recently as I doubt my 15-year old self in 1989 would have made the effort to see the movie in the theater or rent the video. I have remembered the title and the premise of the movie all these years though. That was probably due to the movie being spoofed in various Saturday Night Live type sketches, etc. The movie in actuality was not exactly what I was expecting. It really is like one long repeating scene taking place over different time periods, yet the movie remains interesting from start to finish, although it is not the caliber of film I think of when I think of Best Pictures winners (it did win Best Picture).


Miss Daisy is already an old woman at the beginning of the movie who can no longer reliably drive a car. Her son hires a driver for her, much to her chagrin. Miss Daisy is not an easy person to get along with, so anyone around her must have a thick skin. Hoke the driver is extremely patient and is not afraid to give a little back to Miss Daisy.


He continues to be her driver over the course of the next two decades plus. No real time stamps are given, which makes things a little hard to follow, but I also appreciated the lack of spoon feeding the audience information.


Miss Daisy is not the type of woman who can express feelings to people, especially positive ones, so in her nagging banter with Hoke only a few cracks are ever shown directly revealing her friendship with him, which is usually only implied in indirect ways, if keeping him as her driver for decades is not evidence enough.


No matter how close their personal relationship might have been, things as ever remained business-like with each never, never straying out of their class roles. She ate dinner alone in a huge dining room. Hoke ate alone in the closed off from the rest of the house kitchen. To me it seemed preposterous, but I guess even behind closed doors it would be unthinkable for either Miss Daisy or Hoke to cross those imaginary lines and enjoy a meal and conversation together instead of remaining in solitude.


All this means that when a simple gesture like Miss Daisy taking Hoke’s hand toward the end of the film happens, to viewers it seems like any other people embracing in an extremely emotional hug.


Still, the movie is really a continuation of one scene, Miss Daisy being overbearing, Hoke patiently putting up with it. That Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman could make the movie what it was is a testament to their acting skills.


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