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Oscars Challenge #28: Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Movie Review

Driving Miss Daisy poster

1989 brought us an amazing set of films. Batman, Dead Poets Society, Back to the Future Part II, and Born on the Fourth of July were just some of those many films that really were a breakthrough during that year. But really who would've thought that Driving Miss Daisy could be one of them?

Is it really that good? Does it deserve the Best Picture award?

Winner of the Best Picture award in the 62nd Academy Awards. Driving Miss Daisy may have been a hit at the time it was released but the movie really to me didn't age well.

This comedy-drama is about an old but wealthy Jewish retired woman named Daisy (Jessica Tandy). Who for most of her time does routine work of going out and driving her Chrysler. One day she accidentally crashed her car. Her son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd) decided to hire a driver for his mother and buys her a 1949 Hudson. He hires a black chauffeur named Hoke (Morgan Freeman) to assist her mother even though she doesn't want a driver because she thinks she can manage on her own. Despite her stubbornness towards Hoke, he continues to serve her without any complaint. She even tried to make her son fire him by discovering a lost can of salmon but Hoke replaced it with another can he bought. When Miss Daisy's caretaker died, she decided to not hire one and do the household chores together with Hoke. She began to trust him because of his set of skills as well as his attitude towards her which never changes despite everything. The movie ends where the story took place a few years after. Hoke does not drive anymore because of his deteriorating eyesight. He visits Miss Daisy in a retirement home. Even though she has dementia she still remembers Hoke and treats him as her best friend.

Hoke talking to Miss Daisy

During the middle part of the movie, there have been some instances of racism towards black people that were experienced by Hoke as well as Miss Daisy's realization that she was also a victim of Prejudice. There was an instance wherein she attended a dinner where Martin Luther King Jr. is a guest speaker.

Although it is a very light-hearted movie that explores important topics such as racism, the film to me dragged a little bit. It's one of those that looked promising at first then just got lost in the middle. It really did start well with the relationship of Miss Daisy and Hoke hanging on a balance but in the middle when it starts to improve, the film just became a snooze fest. The ending though is good.

Despite having no proof that it was mentioned in the movie. The character of Miss Daisy, even though she experienced prejudice never treated Hoke as an equal in my opinion. And it's kind of weird because the film explores racism and maybe we as an audience will learn from it but it just didn't go there.

Hoke driving Miss Daisy

What I find weird as well is that the movie suddenly had a time skip portion wherein I got lost because I suddenly noticed that Hoke was really old. Maybe if they added a few minutes of explanation like 10 years passed or something it will be much clearer.

What it handled beautifully is the friendship aspect. I think the development and chemistry between the two main characters are what you can't really take away from this movie. It had some beautiful sweet moments that you want to cherish and remember. My favorite moment is when Hoke decided to stop to take a piss and left Miss Daisy in the car all by himself then she starts looking for him a few seconds after. I think that was pretty sweet that despite her stubbornness and attitude she finds Hoke a very trustworthy type of person.

Morgan Freeman might be the best actor here to play Hoke. I mean the guy can really do any role at any given time. He was just that outstanding. Meanwhile, Jessica Tandy also is a good actress. I think the acting done by the 2 main characters is all good.

The soundtrack was composed by none other than Hans Zimmer. There is nothing to say other than him being a legend.

Also, the car used by Miss Daisy looks beautiful. I mean it's a dream come true to just ride or drive one of those.

Hoke driving Miss Daisy 2

If you are into chill lighthearted movies, then I guess this one's for you. It's pretty easy to understand despite tackling several difficult topics. Plus there's no real plot twist or anything so none will surprise you.

28 films now in my Oscars Challenge and from here on out I don't expect every film to be better than the previous ones. Right at this point, some will stand at the bottom while others could just be well in the middle. I think Driving Miss Daisy despite its light story could stay right near the bottom. It's not the worst film I must say but if you compare it with other Best Picture winners it really didn't live up to my expectations.

Don't get me wrong though, I think this film deserves the prestigious award. But it is debatable if this will be preserved for what it is and the message it delivers.

Just a pretty okay film for me.

I give this a 2 out of 5 stars.

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