1962 was a time of great divide in our countries history. Racism was still very existent and because of that, many areas in the country were not safe for people of color. Green Book is a true story based on two men from completely different racial backgrounds that suddenly have their lives intertwined during this time. Italian Nightclub Bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) becomes unemployed and must find a way to support his family and pay the bills. At this same time, an African-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), is looking for an experienced driver and body guard to guide him through the Deep South. Lip is tasked with the job of making sure that Shirley gets to every stop on his tour safe and sound, using a 'Green Book' in order to find Shirley hotels where people of color are allowed to stay.
The movie is backed by a great, authentic story that appears realistic. It demonstrates phenomenal pacing and even better character development. The two main actors, Mortensen and Ali, are transformed during the course of the movie into their respective characters. Director Peter Farrelly may be known strictly for his comedic films but here reveals how versatile he can be. The film sports beautiful, vibrant, shots featuring many scenes that look like they were taken straight out of a book. It was fantastic to see Farrelly get back to his roots and really inject many great laughs in a predominately dramatic film.
The movieI teeters between the perfect line of being informative, while also leaving plenty of room for the viewer to piece things together themselves. The soundtrack, along with it’s score performed by Kris Bowers, perfectly complements the movie’s setting and time period. Green Book is a movie that allowed every different aspect to come together naturally and gel in harmony. Finding any negative opinions about it definitely takes a little bit of over analyzing.
What Didn’t Work
Though it is a stretch to find negative aspects about Green Room, there were some parts that could’ve been tightened up. Some secondary characters like Tony’s family or Dr. Shirley’s bandmates get underdeveloped because of the heavy focus on the mains. My main complaint is that with many movies set during a racial time period can suffer from plot predictability. The plot of two men from separate backgrounds and races uniting together during a time where the world couldn’t be more apart is a great story. However, it has been done many times in movies like Gran Torino, The Blind Side and Remember the Titans to name a few. The key then is on story and performance to “stand out” when compared to other films, thankfully Green Room does just that.
Green Book is an absolute must see. It is a heartfelt movie that has you feeling better about yourself when leaving the theatre. It sports phenomenal direction, music, acting and character development throughout. Some time period dramas tend to drag and become rather boring in parts but this is not the case here. I expect Mortensen and Ali to be among the nominations come award season with the amazing job they did with their characters and chemistry development. I also expect the movie itself to be up for best picture. Congratulations to Peter Farrelly for putting together the best film I have seen so far this year, stop reading this review and go enjoy it.