Winner of four 1989 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, Driving Miss Daisy has stood the test of time continuing to bring laughter, joy and tears. Adapted from Alfred Uhry’s play of the same name, this beloved movie, staring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Ackroyd, still strikes a chord as it skillfully navigates the subjects of racism, friendship and growing older.
Jessica Tandy stars as Mrs. Daisy Werthan. An elderly Jewish widow living alone in Atlanta, Georgia in 1948. Our first encounter of Miss Daisy comes as she accidentally drives her car in the opposite direction then intended leaving it totaled. Miss Daisy’s son Boolie (Aykroyd) steps in before she has a chance to try it again. Booley hires Hoke Colburn (Freeman) as Miss Daisy’s African American chauffeur. Hoke’s presence at Miss Daisy’s house is met with meager hospitality. Despite Miss Daisy’s insistence that she does not need a chauffeur Hoke refuses to back down namely because he is Boolie’s employee, not hers.
Over the course of twenty years we watch as Miss Daisy and Hoke grow older, forming an unbreakable bond. We watch as Miss Daisy teaches Hoke to read and has him drive her to her brother’s ninetieth birthday party taking him out of Georgia for the first time. Together they endure the racism permeating the South, but not just against African Americans. When Miss Daisy’s synagogue is bombed she comes to realize they have more in common then she thought. Miss Daisy and Hoke come to depend on one another remaining lasting friends until the bitter end.
Having not seen “Driving Miss Daisy” since childhood, I was looking forward to taking a two hour trip down memory lane. With surprise I realized I had gotten so wrapped up in the lives of Miss Daisy and Hoke that I cried at the tenderness found in their relationship. Race, religion and age had melted away leaving only a deep friendship with a bond tighter then a lot of people ever experience.
I heartily recommend this film. Having no sexual content, violence or foul language I find it to be appropriate for the whole family. However, warn your kids that this is no Pixar film and allow them to opt out until they are old enough to rent it for themselves thus truly appreciating the story for what it is….Stephanie Spurgetis