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Driving Miss Daisy

(1989, Beresford)
The last Best Picture winner you haven't seen

Daisy: "Hoke?"
Hoke: "Yes'm."
Daisy: "You're my best friend."
Hoke: "No, go on Miss Daisy."
Daisy: "No, really, you are... You are."

Set in 1948, Driving Miss Daisy follows Daisy (Jessica Tandy), a widowed and retired schoolteacher that is forced by her son to take a chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) after a small car accident. Despite her initial reluctance and bigotry against Hoke, we see how their relationship grows and evolves through the course of 20 years.

This is one of those films you don't see mentioned often, if at all, and one that I have to admit was more or less dreading. Although the film is not necessarily awful, it delivers exactly what you would expect from the premise and the cast involved, which is a neatly acted, okay-ish drama that doesn't feel like diving into any of the social issues its breezing through. The thing is that the film decides to take a light, almost comedic approach to its story, without never really diving into Daisy's prejudices and bigotry.

My friend @ApexPredator said it best when he told me that it worked "best as a character study of two people who are missing something and find a connection that leads to friendship ... As a civil rights film, it's less effective.", and I like how accurate that is. Thankfully, the film has Tandy and Freeman to make that connection feel like something somewhat believable and pleasant, despite the shortcomings of the script.

Driving Miss Daisy lacks the power to make a compelling drama or a lasting statement on racial relations, but I don't think it's trying either. But maybe it's that lack of trying what kept it from transcending to another level, as far as film goes. The film is just there. I don't regret watching it, but I doubt I will ever watch it again.