Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Review

The development of the relationship between an old Jewish woman Daisy Werthan and her African-American chauffeur Hoke Colburn in the American South which grows to a great friendship over the years.


When Daisy crashes her car one day when driving her son Boolie decides that it is time for her to have a driver, so he hires a chauffeur in the 1950s and this meant a black man which is when Hoke comes into their lives. She is stubborn and does not like change so to begin with will not even let him drive her anywhere. Hoke is a wonderfully lovely man and his kindness slowly wins her over with trust, covering over twenty years.

The 1990 Best Picture winner and in all honesty the general feeling surrounding this film has never come across as positive. Although knowing the very basic plot I always figured that I would enjoy it and I am happy to say that was very true. Finding the film has always been rather difficult, only released on DVD and never seen it on any streaming service. I eventually just bought it on Apple TV, iTunes although the picture quality was very poor (totally spoilt by the 4K era). The point I am meaning to make around that is considering it is a Best Picture winner I would have expected it to have at least an HD upgrade by now.

It’s quite frankly a truly lovely story which is based on the writer’s own experience and inspired by his grandmother Lena Fox and her chauffeur Will Coleman, taking the true start to the story of the car accident leading to the hiring and he drove her for 25 years. I felt as though this fact makes the film just that little bit more real and it is based on his play of the same time.

Set in Atlanta, Georgia a Jew and a black man forming a friendship with what you can say is truly against the odds. Boolie wanting to ensure that his mother is safe and Hoke was certainly the manage to do just that. It explores the racism towards black people which is truly heartbreaking towards Hoke as he is just the loveliest of men. We also get to see anti-semitism after the synagogue that Miss Daisy attends was bombed and she realises that prejudice is against her as well. Given it only has a PG rating it still manages to explore different themes and attitudes in quite frankly a very good manner. The final scene did not go the way I had thought it was going to, but I actually felt as though this was nicer and even more heartbreaking than I imagined it could be, yes I cried.

The performances are utterly fantastic with Jessica Tandy growing and being so impressive throughout the whole film, especially as they begin to age over these years and everything is not quite as easy for Daisy. I didn’t think it was possible to like and/or respect Morgan Freeman anymore than I already did but his Hoke performance blew me away. So soft and kind and not letting anything truly bother him and I felt as though he was just perfect for this role. A lovely surprise was how fantastic Dan Aykroyd was in the supporting role as Boolie, showing great compassion and being a truly nice son. I felt a bad fan for not even realising that Patti LuPone was in the film, and think we needed more of her, the broadway legend who never really had too much success in film you would think being part of this best picture winner would have pushed that more, she is something else on stage!

I’d personally love it if we had more nice and lovely films like this one I cannot deny it. In that sense I can fully understand and appreciate just why this won Best Picture, some important messages delivered in the best possible manner without needing any swearing or inappropriate behaviour, really highlighting that friendships can come around at any stage of your life.

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