Thursday, March 24, 2011

Driving Miss Daisy


Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 film adapted from a play by the same name, written by Alfred Uhry, who got a Pulitzer prize for his work in 1988. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford and stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Ackroyd.I am generally a fan of Morgan Freeman, who is just incredible in every single movie he makes. Here he plays with an incredible sensitivity, and is just right.


When Daisy (Tandy), an elderly woman, has a car accident, her son Boolie (Ackroyd) hires Hoke (Freeman) to drive her around. At first he is not welcome:

Idella: I wouldn't be in your shoes if the Sweet Lord Jesus come down and asked me himself.
Idella: I'm goin', Miss Daisy.
Daisy Werthan: [from upstairs] Alright Idella, see you tomorrow.
Hoke Colburn: I'm goin' too, Miss Daisy.
Daisy Werthan: Good!

Reluctant at first, Daisy soon has to accept Hoke’s help and, over the years, a strong bond develops.

The story focuses on Miss Daisy, and revolves around her life: at home, at the synagogue, with her friends, family. We never see what Hoke’s life is when he is not with her.

Hoke does not speak much but knows a lot – he remains the same throughout, whereas Daisy has mood swings and goes from being very pleasant to very unpleasant. Gradually she opens up to him, up until the end where she tells him “you’re my best friend”. Tandy and Freeman carry the movie, and are both amazing. The movie is set in Georgia, and a scene in particular is touching: Hoke and Miss Daisy are driving to Alabama, and they have parked on the side of the road for a picnic. Two cops stop and are for the papers, showing a bad attitude towards this unsual tandem: An old nigger and an old Jew woman takin' off down the road together... that is one sorry sight. That does not prevent the two of them to be fond of each other, to the point that in the end Daisy prefers spending time with Hoke than with her son:


Boolie Werthan: Hoke, I thought of you the other day on the expressway. I saw an Avondale Milk truck. Monster of a thing, must have had about sixteen wheels. 
Hoke Colburn: You don't say!
Boolie Werthan: I was wondering how you'd like drivin' that thing around!
Daisy Werthan: [to Boolie] Hoke came to see me, not you!
Hoke Colburn: Look like one o' her good days!
Daisy Werthan: Boolie, go charm the nurses!
Boolie Werthan: [smiling] She wants you all to herself.

Very sweet movie, about patience, dedication and dignity. A bit slow at times, but generally a good moment, and two brilliant actors.


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