Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Well, this is again one of those cases when I feel that I HAVE TO review a movie that I've seen countless times. The time has come to take another look at this beautiful movie, which is unfortunately very underrated these days.
It's about an old and grumpy Jewish lady (Jessica Tandy) whose son (Dan Aykroyd) hires a chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) for her elderly mother who's not able to drive safely. Soon the (just a bit) stormy relationship turns out to be a real friendship through the years spent together.
This is a beautiful movie to say the least. And yes, they don't make them like this anymore. There's basically no action in this movie, only great scenes, wonderful performances, good humor and something to think about. It's an easy recipee but nowadays they prefer makin them BIG and LOUD.
Anyway, the most basic thing about making a movie is something to work with. That's essentially a tolerable screenplay. No in this case, the screenplay is awesome and one of the greatest ones ever written. With its humor, sadness kindness and fabulously written characters this story makes you feel better, fills you with joy that there are some great movies.
Sure, it's not only due to the screenplay. You need someone to play these roles. Jessica Tandy at the age of 80 is simply beautiful. And boy she could really act! The scene when she's looking for the tests or when she's talking about her childhood are so heartbreaking. But she also gives a hell of a comic performance. So stop saying right now that Michelle Pfeiffer was more deserving please.
I'm sad that Morgan Freeman did not receive the Oscar he would have deserved, but Daniel Day-Lewis was certainly on a different level, I'm just a bit bitter that this excellent performance (which is Freeman's best IMO) was not awarded with an Oscar. Nevertheless, he's just as great as Jessica Tandy and in their scenes their collaboration is so great. They act together and not against each other. It's so great (at the Berlin Film Festival they received an acting award for their collaboration, which was a wise decision).
Dan Aykroyd received a well-deserved nomination for playing the son who not only has to deal with her old mother, but also with her unbearable wife.
Another nomination-worthy thing was the original score, which is so catchy and beautiful, I just don't get it how it could be left out. But it's not me giving out the Oscars. And those makeups are really great!
So to sum up, Bruce Beresford was again able to make a cathartic and beautiful little movie (which should have earned him a nomination) after Tender Mercies. One of my favorite films ever.
My Grade: 10/10 Yes again, I'm very generous, but this movie deserves it.
Nominations: Best Picture (WON); Best Actor (Morgan Freeman); Best Actress (Jessica Tandy WON); Best Supporting Actor (Aykroyd); Best Adapted Screenplay (WON); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration; Best Costume Design; Best Editing; Best Makeup (WON)
My wins: Picture, Actor (runner-up to DDL, I just want to honor him too), Actress, Screenplay, Music (I nominate it), Makeup


Louis Morgan said...

Freeman certainly was great, It's too bad it did not come out in 87 or 88 when Day-Lewis was not nominated.

joe burns said...

I agree! I love this film! Too bad it's get hate these days. Both Tandy and Freeman are amazing! Dan Aykroyd nomination is odd to me, but I didn't hate his performance.

Celso said...

I don't get the hate about this film. It's simple and beautiful. I prefer "Do the Right Thing", but this is my runner-up. And am I the only one who thinks that Freeman was REALLY better than Day-Lewis?

dinasztie said...

I think DDL is a bit overrated , but MLF was his best, so he deserved it. But if I had to pick my personal favorite and not the best, it would be Freeman.

joe burns said...

Would you have given it director if Beresford had been nominated? And did you see my resolution for Best Actress 2006?

dinasztie said...

I'm saying yes to both. I liked your results :-) I probably would have given it to him. Or rather not. Tough question. Well, I would have given it to Woody Allen for Crimes and Misdemeanors (and BSA for Martin Landau) and a Best Picture too tied with DMD.