MOVIE REVIEW – Green Book
Green Book is an uplifting true story of a friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixie line. The movie, starring Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip and Mahershala Ali as Dr Don Shirley tells the story of a New York City bouncer from The Bronx suddenly finding himself out of work for a few months. He is hired to drive and protect Dr Don Shirley, a world-famous black pianist, on a concert tour to the Deep South of America. They must rely on the Green Book to get them through.
The movie title comes from an actual book that was available from 1936 to 1966 called The Negro Motorist Green Book. This book, updated annually, was produced “to give the Negro traveller information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable.” It was an essential travel guide for safe accommodation, dining and business options.
The movie is set against a backdrop of a country grappling with the Civil Rights movement, with the two men often confronted with racism and danger. A long the way the two men establish a friendship that will endure for the rest of their lives.
The two men travelling together are indeed an odd couple. An elegant artist and a rough and tumble bouncer from the Bronx. While talking in the car, both men often have no idea what the other is talking about. Dr. Don is trying to change Tony’s persona, while Tony is just trying to give Dr Don, who is unlike any other black man he has seen, real life lessons, often with humorous results.
Overall an entertaining, riveting road movie, genuinely funny at times. The drama moments are not too heavy but make the point they are meant to make and can make you angry at times. Both actors are brilliant in the roles they portray and the 1962 settings are realistic. You will feel transported back in time.
It is early 2019 but this will be one of the best movies of the year. Don’t miss it.