Driving Miss Daisy managed to receive the acclaim of the Academy as being the best picture of the year – but apparently it wasn’t even among the five best directed. Bruce Beresford’s director snub is certainly surprising considering that the Academy has given Director nominations for much less.
Anyway, Driving Miss Daisy is the sentimental, moving and also amusing story of an old widow and her black chauffeur and how they slowly end up spending years and years together while becoming friends. Driving Miss Daisy seems mostly as a movie about racism and prejudices but these are actually themes are hardly touched and it mostly focuses on the relationship between Miss Daisy and Hog. This was a wise decision and while it is frustrating that Hog as a character is never as explored as Miss Daisy, the whole movie still keeps a nice balance between those two characters and use the, maybe, simple themes that shape their relationship as its driving force.
Maybe it was an exaggeration to say that Driving Miss Daisy completely depends on the actors – because it has more to offer. The screenplay is extremely touching and manages to tell this small story without ever feeling empty or banal. Then there’s the wonderful, catchy score by Hans Zimmer which so perfectly accompanies the story.
Overall, Driving Miss Daisy beautifully captures the friendship between two unlikely characters without ever appearing too sentimental – all the effective moments are never overdone but only hinted it, even the final scene between Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy avoids any cheap sentimentality and feels surprisingly honest instead. Besides this, there are many other beautiful and moving scenes – Miss Daisy teaching Hog how to read at the graveyard, the two driving to the birthday party of her brother or cooking together. Driving Miss Daisy doesn’t provide any truly big moments or tackles grand themes but underneath its simple story is still hints at some greater truth without becoming preachy or sentimental.