Driving Miss Daisy Reviews
Daisy Werthan, Jessica Tandy, is an aging Southern widow who struggles to drive but is just as stubborn as ever when her son Boolie, Dan Aykroyd, essentially pushes an African-American driver Hoke Colburn, Morgan Freeman, on her. Over the next 25 years the two develop a strong bond, purportedly, as she faces up to her racism in the age of the civil rights movement. When she becomes senile and is moved into a hospital Hoke continues to support her and the two remain friends as they sit down and talk at the end of the film.
A lot of reviewers praised this film for it's ´┐ 1/2 1/2 1/2~subtlety' in showing Werthan's shift from racist to friend of Hoke's and non-prejudiced person. To me the shift wasn't subtle it was just non-existent as the main character remains rude and disrespectful of Hoke while he acts like a perfect angel and puts up with her offensive remarks while laughing at her bad ´┐ 1/2 1/2 1/2~jokes'. I needed something to explain how she had changed, become a better person and come to understand that her prejudices against African-Americans were wrong. No, I didn't need the film to be as graceless as Green Book (2018) in it's presentation of the enlightenment of a racist character but at least in that film we get moments that endear us to the main character. If this film was going to go full white savior I at least needed to see why the white character was a positive influence on the African-American's life.
The issue is not the performances of the two leads with Tandy and Freeman trying their damnedest to bring to life characters that are flat on the page but Aykroyd felt completely out of place and his Southern accent was unconvincing. Tandy does a good job with her accent and the various mannerisms of an uptight older lady, she sells her moments of pain as she feels neglected by her son and fully commits to making her character insufferable. Freeman is reliably charming as the driver and his quiet anger and hurt as he is humiliated by two racist police officers was powerful. Aykroyd comes in and ruins the beautiful subtlety in the performances of the two leads as he fudges all of his lines and acts more like a character in a Harold Ramis directed film than in a prestige picture about race relations.
The positive aspects of the film, there were few, were the cinematography and the score. The South is a beautiful place, as proven by the much better Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), and we get to see the flowers in the trees and the idyllic rural landscapes in all their glory. Hans Zimmer who also contributed his skills to 1988's Best Picture winner Rain Man produces the most fun element of the film as his score contains several bright, inspiring compositions that keep the film going as it repeatedly drags.
I'm not going to lie, When Harry Met Sally´┐ 1/2 1/2 1/2 is one of my favorite films of the 1980s and it's lack of Best Picture nomination incenses me. When considering the 1989 Best Picture nominees they are relatively weak but I would consider Born on the Fourth of July to be the best. Obviously I would have rewarded that film over this awkwardly mishandled tale of ´┐ 1/2 1/2 1/2~friendship' between a horrible woman and an unbelievably patient and understanding man. I would not recommend this film to anybody unless they want to see this part of the world shot beautifully, in which case there are several other films that do that better, which isn't exactly incentive to sit down for nearly two hours of white savior narrative.
Brilliantly portrayed by Freeman and Tandy, it is a relatively sweet story (with a dash of bitter here and there) about life and friendship in the last decades of life.
This is an all right film. The story is nice and sweet, the acting is great and the production is typical. It's no big surpizes here and the A-rating makes it a bit flat and easy to predict. It has not held up that greatly and it does not stand out for me.
OK film, but way too safe.
6 out of 10 can's of salmon.
Driving Miss Daisy
The writer; Alfred Uhry, has spent a lot on the bonding of the lead characters which is clearly visible and thoroughly moving and entertaining, that clearly stands alone and becomes the highlight of this subtle dramatic feature. Bruce Bereford is decent on executing the scene and offering the appropriate tone to it but a better editing and cinematography would have changed the whole course. Morgan Freeman holds on to his part tightly along with Jessica Tandy who overpowers Morgan completely with her genuinely moving performance. Driving Miss Daisy is a slow pill that is effective to its core but it sure tests one's patience along with it which in the end is worth the drama.
because he needs the job.