“An Enduring Friendship,” a review of “Green Book” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 5/5 Stars, SHOWTIME
Director: Peter Farrelly, Writers: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Plot: “A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.” -IMDB
Review: The plot of “Green Book” is predictable. Most of the time such a sentence is a nail in the coffin for a film. At the very least, it is strike one. That isn’t the case for this movie. Instead, this film is saved by the on-screen chemistry between Viggo Mortensen’s character, Tony Lip, and Mahershala Ali’s character, Dr. Don Shirley. Tony Lip is an opportunity man trying to make ends meet. Dr. Shirley is a classically trained pianist. As they drift into each other’s atmosphere, the real fun and drama of this film starts.
The “Green Book” serves as a roadmap for black travelers to use when in the American south of the 1960s. With this knowledge in hand, we know racism is going to rear its ugly head somewhere in this film. When uncultured Tony secures a job driving Dr. Shirley to tour dates across the Midwest and through the south, the biggest and most lingering question of the film presents itself. Will this professional relationship be able to endure?
From one town to the next, we are introduced to the master that is Dr. Don Shirley. As he fills mostly white auditoriums, concert halls, and southern homes, we are treated to an unexpectedly funny film. We are also on the front row to the evil men do to each other no matter the talent before them. As Tony confronts these evils, our hearts are left to sink and swim under the tension. We know Dr. Shirley can handle the pressure. Tony’s in/ability to do so is what will keep you engrossed in this picture.
At times, it can seem as movies such as these are tailored made to play off white guilt about our horrible past. It can seem as if they are built to garner award show votes. I don’t believe that is the case here. In the end, this is a worthy tale about an enduring friendship withstanding racism, classicism, and educational divides. It stands as a testament to what can happen when we look past what divides and truly get to know a person. For that, I cannot recommend it enough.
Be good to each other,
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