Driving Miss Daisy
|Driving Miss Daisy|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce Beresford|
|Produced by||Richard D. Zanuck
Lili Fini Zanuck
|Screenplay by||Alfred Uhry|
|Based on||Driving Miss Daisy by
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Mark Warner|
|The Zanuck Company|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film adapted from the Alfred Uhry play of the same name. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, with Morgan Freeman reprising his role as Hoke Colburn (whom he also portrayed in the play) and Jessica Tandy playing Miss Daisy. The story defines Daisy and her point of view through a network of relationships and emotions by focusing on her home life, synagogue, friends, family, fears, and concerns over a 25-year period.
Mrs. ("Miss") Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), a 72-year-old wealthy white Jewish widowed school teacher, lives alone in Atlanta, Georgia, except for an African American housemaid named Idella (Esther Rolle). When Miss Daisy wrecks her car, her son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), hires Hoke Coleburn (Morgan Freeman), a chauffeur who drove for a local judge until he recently died. Miss Daisy at first refuses to let Hoke drive her, but gradually starts to accept him.
When Miss Daisy finds out that Hoke is illiterate, she teaches him how to read. As Miss Daisy and Hoke spend time together, she gains appreciation for his many skills and the two become friends. After Idella dies in 1963, rather than hire a new maid, Miss Daisy decides to care for her own house and cook her own meals. Hoke assists with the cooking and the two plant a vegetable garden.
The film exposes the racism and prejudice that permeated American society at the time, such as when Alabama highway patrolmen make bigoted comments about Miss Daisy's religion and Hoke's race. After her synagogue is bombed, Miss Daisy realizes that she is also the victim of prejudice. But American society is undergoing radical changes, and Miss Daisy attends a dinner at which Dr. Martin Luther King gives a speech. She initially invites Boolie to the dinner, but he declines, and suggests that Miss Daisy invite Hoke. However, Miss Daisy only asks him to be her guest during the car ride to the event and ends up attending the dinner alone, with Hoke insulted by the manner of the invitation, listening to the speech on the car radio outside.
Hoke arrives at the house one morning in 1971 to find Miss Daisy agitated and showing signs of dementia. Hoke calms her down and Miss Daisy tells Hoke that he is her best friend. Boolie arranges for Miss Daisy to enter a retirement home. In 1973, Hoke, now 81, retires. Boolie and Hoke drive to the retirement home to visit Miss Daisy, now 97. As Hoke feeds her and reminisces about the many years he spent driving her, the image of a car is seen driving into the distance.
- Morgan Freeman as Hoke Colburn
- Jessica Tandy as Daisy Werthan
- Dan Aykroyd as Boolie Werthan
- Patti LuPone as Florine Werthan
- Esther Rolle as Idella
- Joann Havrilla as Miss McClatchey
- William Hall, Jr. as Oscar
- Muriel Moore as Miriam
- Sylvia Kaler as Beulah
- Crystal Fox as Katey Bell
Driving Miss Daisy was well received by critics, with particular emphasis on Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy's performances. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on reviews from 52 critics, with an average score of 7.1/10. The site's consensus states: "Warm and smartly paced, and boasting impeccable performances from Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy." On Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 based on reviews from mainstream critics, the film has a score of 81 based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film a positive review, calling Tandy's performance "glorious...Tandy's finest two hours onscreen in a film career that goes back to 1932."
Driving Miss Daisy also achieved the following distinctions at the 62nd Academy Awards:
- It is the only film based on an off Broadway production ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture;
- As of 2014, it is the last Best Picture winner to receive a PG rating;
- Jessica Tandy, at age 81, became the oldest winner in the history of the Best Actress category.
Driving Miss Daisy also won three Golden Globe Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor Morgan Freeman, and Best Actress Jessica Tandy) in the Comedy/Musical genre. At the 1989 Writers Guild of America Awards, the film won in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Rounding out its United States awards, the film won both Best Picture and Best Actor from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. In the United Kingdom, Driving Miss Daisy was nominated for four British Academy Film Awards, with Jessica Tandy winning in the Best Actress category. Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman won the Silver Bear for the Best Joint Performance at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.
The film's score was composed by Hans Zimmer, who won a BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television for his work. The score was performed entirely by Zimmer, done electronically using samplers and synthesizers, and did not feature a single live instrument. There is a scene, however, in which the "Song to the Moon" from the opera Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák is heard on a radio as sung by Gabriela Beňačková. The soundtrack was issued on Varèse Sarabande.
The film was successful on home video. The film was released on DVD in the USA on April 30, 1997 and the special edition was released on February 4, 2003. The movie was first released on Blu-ray disc in Germany and finally was released on Blu-ray in the US in a special edition digibook in January 2013 by Warner Bros.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (1990-03-06). "How Major Studios Missed a Hit". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- "Daisy A Hit That Nearly Aborted". Chicago Tribune. 1990-03-08. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- "Driving Miss Daisy". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Driving Miss Daisy (1989)". Flixster Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- "Driving Miss Daisy". CBS Interactive Metacritic. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- "Driving Miss Daisy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
- "The 62nd Academy Awards (1990) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
- "Academy's Diamond Anniversary Screening Series to Feature "Driving Miss Daisy"" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2003-09-02. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Miss Daisy, Jessica Tandy Win Top Oscars". Chicago Tribune. 1990-03-27. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- "VIDEO RENTALS : 'Born' Can't Pass High-Revving 'Daisy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
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- Driving Miss Daisy at the Internet Movie Database
- Driving Miss Daisy at the TCM Movie Database
- Driving Miss Daisy at AllMovie
- Driving Miss Daisy at Box Office Mojo
- Driving Miss Daisy at Rotten Tomatoes
- Driving Miss Daisy at the Internet off-Broadway Database
- Official Broadway Website