It’s a battle just about every family fights at some point: convincing an elderly parent that the time has come to hand over the car keys. I can imagine what it’s like for an aging individual, how humiliating it must feel to transition from independence to dependence. No surprise then, that it often takes a mishap behind the wheel before one of our elders concedes and vacates the driver seat for the last time. And so begins Driving Miss Daisy in 1948, when wealthy Atlanta widow Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) drives her car into a ditch. This prompts her son, business owner Boolie (Dan Akroyd), to hire an African-American chauffeur named Hoke (Morgan Freeman) to do the driving for her. The movie then largely concerns the relationship between Daisy and Hoke over the course of subsequent decades. Daisy initially perceives Hoke’s very presence as an attack on her independence, but after he blunts her resentment with Job-like patience, her ire gives way to acceptance, and eventual friendship. This plays out against the backdrop of mid-20th Century America and touches themes of race and aging.
One of the things I liked about Miss Daisy was that for a film that addressed race in the Jim Crow-era South, for the most part there aren’t Continue reading