The true story of the friendship that blossomed between pianist
Dr. Don Shirley and his Italian driver Tony Lip in the 1960's.
Green Book (2018)
Directed by Peter Farrelly
Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen),
Best Film Editing
Green Book features two of the best performances of the year in Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. That alone should be enough to entice even the most casual of moviegoers. Beyond that, though, this film is endearing as hell. It shows just one true story out of countless others that deal with racism in the 1960's and how difficult it was for a black man to be accepted in the American South. The true story of a true friendship between legendary musician Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) and his Italian-American driver, Tony Lip (Mortensen), and how a tour across the country taught them both some important lessons about people.
This film wouldn't be nearly as wonderful if it hadn't been for the stellar work of its two leads. Mortensen is such a chameleon. It's hard for me to believe that it's the same man who played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. His chemistry with Ali is flawless, and Ali's performance as Dr. Shirley is just as brilliant. You understand both of their positions, due to the wildly different worlds they both came from, and their friendship doesn't feel forced or unearned. The journey to that friendship is real. You get to see every part of the evolution and by the end, you feel happy and proud of both of them.
There are moments in the film that are hilarious and there are moments that are heartbreaking. Peter Farrelly manages to find a perfect balance between the two and produce a quality biopic that deserves every award it receives this season. Green Book is an organic, entertaining, and dramatic snapshot of the reality of segregation in America, and how a little understanding and a little humanity go a long way.
If you are a comedy fan, Peter Farrelly is a name you’ve come across before, as he has already directed films like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary, and Stuck on You. Green Book is a challenging undertaking, considering what Farrelly has previously done. We have a very strong look at two great actors in Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, as they are the focus of this film ninety percent of the time.
Tony Lip (Mortensen) is a stubborn and stern Italian-American, whose skills are wanted by Dr. Shirley (Ali), an extremely talented piano player. The film checks off all the things the audience really needs in this film, causing it to be predictable. There are movies that are around to teach solid lessons, give good perspective, and inspire. This is definitely one of those, but we are very fortunate to see the performances we get to with this one. The laughs that are delivered are true, and clearly have Farrelly’s finger prints on it. We get to see issues with race during the 60’s handled with honesty, while redeeming moments are sprinkled throughout the lessons we learn through the dialogue.
This is a biographical film that has done what it set out to do. This is the 2018 film that is for everyone. Everyone can sit, enjoy, and learn from viewing Green Book. In a time where a lot of art is made to show how sh**ty it is to be human, Green Book leaves you with a smile and memorable performances.