Despite having several potentially Christmas-y films nearby on the list, none actually fell on December 25. Oh, well. Regardless, Driving Miss Daisy is a Triple A film (All About the Acting, though the AAA abbreviation is funny considering all the driving) if ever there was one, relying entirely on the amazing performances of Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from Alfred Uhry’s Off-Broadway play, the film retains Freeman from the original stage production and carries the same quiet, character-driven style and geriatric spotlight of another Triple A play adaptation On Golden Pond.
Jessica Tandy was 81 when she became the oldest Oscar winner, thanks to her portrayal of the uppity Miss Daisy, the kind of inflexible old woman who blames accidents on the car, freaks out over a missing can of salmon because it’s hers, and enjoys a nice home with a lifelong servant while taking offense at being called rich. She’s the kind of person who would, quite frankly, drive me nuts, but Morgan Freeman is the ideal companion for her, friendly, unassuming, and patient as Job. Though he lost Best Actor to Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot, I do wish he had won. His folksy longsuffering becomes more and more sweet, as it progresses from just another job to a lifetime commitment on which Miss Daisy clearly relies, even if she would hate to admit it. By the end, the audience feels like they know these two dissimilar people far better than one might expect from a plot synopsis, and the film ends on a bittersweet but not morbid note, as if the writer was also too fond of the characters to let either go.
Dan Aykroyd found his best dramatic role and only Oscar nomination as Miss Daisy’s son Boolie, and Hans Zimmer’s score deserved a nomination it didn’t receive. If I had to criticize, I do wish that the progression of time had been made clearer, perhaps with subtitles explaining what year it is rather than small details, like a radio in the background, which are easy to miss. While Oliver! was the last G-rated Best Picture, Driving Miss Daisy was the last to be rated PG (though The Artist could have been rated such). While some have said it didn’t deserve to win Best Picture, I consider its simple, nuanced approach to characterization and unlikely lifelong friendships to be more than worthy.Best line: (Idella, Miss Daisy’s maid) “I’m goin’, Miss Daisy.” (Miss Daisy, from upstairs) “All right, Idella. See you tomorrow.” (Hoke) “I’m goin’ too, Miss Daisy.” (Miss Daisy) “Good!” VC’s best line: (Idella, who gets some great lines, to Hoke) “I wouldn’t be in your shoes if the Sweet Lord Jesus come down and asked me himself.” Rank: 58 out of 60
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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P.S. Merry Christmas to all you readers out there! And for those who enjoy sketch comedy and poetry adaptations, here’s something I came across on YouTube. Have a laugh!