Release Date: 1989
Director: Bruce Beresford
Why I picked this: “Best Picture” of that year
Light hearted but deep, this feel-good film tackles some very basic themes, from age, friendship, and prejudice. Upon immediately wrecking her car trying to leave the driveway, the elderly Miss Daisy Werthan, played by Jessica Tandy, reluctantly accepts the services a chauffer named Hoke Coleburn, played by Morgan Freeman, at the insistance of her son Boolie, portrayed by Dan Aykroyd. Miss Daisy, claiming not to be prejudiced, is initially hostile towards Hoke, but more due to her wanting to keep her independence. It takes much time for her to warm up to Hoke, who is very talkative, humorous, and cheerful. The slowly growing relationship between Miss Daisy and Hoke is perhaps the strongest aspect of this film; it is amazing how it progressed, and I myself didn’t even realize how nice she began acting towards Hoke for some time. The entire film’s pacing is very nice; the film is never important, and you get the feeling that every scene is present for some reason, whether to pick at the relationship between Miss Daisy and her chauffer, or to serve as a mini-lesson for any of the primary characters. Prejudice is probably the most prominent theme, with both the African-American Hoke and Jewish Miss Daisy finding themselves as victims of bigotry and racism, much to the shock of Miss Daisy. Age is also important, with Miss Daisy, already 72 at the beginning of the film, must face aging even further. One thing I did not like about the film was that it was difficult to gauge how much time was passing within the film; sometimes, I felt the only indicator of how much time has passed was observing how much hair Dan Aykroyd’s character lost. And as bright as the movie is, I didn’t feel that it was very unique from a cinematic standpoint. What results is a short and sweet little movie; maybe not of the “Best Pictures,” but still nice.
Bright and cheerful with great lead performances, it may not have a large impact on you, but the character dynamics and dialogue should be enough to entertain.