Classic of the Week: Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

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Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and stars Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd. The story is about Daisy Werthan, a 72 year old wealthy, widowed, retired schoolteacher, who lives alone in Atlanta, Georgia, except for her housekeeper Idella (Esther Rolle). When Daisy drives her 1946 Chrysler Windsor into her neighbor’s yard, her 40 year old son, Boolie (Aykroyd) buys her 1949 Hudson Commodore and hires Hoke Colburn (Freeman), an African American chauffeur. She at first refuses to let anyone drive her, but eventually goes along with it. After her housekeeper Idella dies in 1962, instead of hiring someone new, Miss Daisy decides to take care of the house herself and have Hoke do the cooking and driving.

This film examines racism against African Americans, which affects Hoke at the time. It also explores anti-semitism in the South. After her synagogue is bombed, Miss Daisy realizes that she is also a victim of prejudice. But America is going through social changes and she attends a dinner at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is giving a speech.

This is a wonderful film is filled with hatred, friendship and love. It shows that race, sex and religion, don’t matter if you’re a good hearted, loving person. It also shows that putting others first is very important. This film will make you angry, sad and warm your heart. It shows how not just African Americans and Jews lived during segregation, but also how they were treated.

At first, she is mean to Hoke, because he doesn’t do things to her liking, but eventually he gets used to her ways. Miss Daisy is wealthy, Hoke is not, but they become very good friends. Both are elderly, but they help each other out. They are two special people that are very different, but they end up seeing beyond that. Miss Daisy is a strict Jew, that never misses a church service, Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon. Hoke isn’t used to cooking kosher, but eventually learns and grows used to it. You learn a good bit about the Jewish religion if you’re not part of it. You also learn how both Jews and Christians didn’t get along and how both were treated at the time. Hoke learns a lot about Miss Daisy’s faith.

Lots of happy and tragic things happen in this film. The acting from Tandy, Freeman and Aykroyd is magnificent. The story is wonderful from beginning to end. The film does have some pretty slow scenes, especially at the beginning, but it does pick up. This is a lovely, yet heart-rending film that never disappoints. 10+ 4.5/5

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