GREEN BOOK – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Green Book is the new comedic drama from director Peter Farrelly, who’s known more for directing outlandish over the top comedy films such as There’s Something About Mary or Dumb and Dumber 2. Luckily, he’s showing he can handle this A-list acting team of Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali to tell a compelling story about a tough subject like prejudice. All done with a light touch that makes it memorable and bittersweet.
Green Book is based on a real story about the relationship that was formed between Jamaican-American classical pianist Doctor Don Shirley (Ali) and New York bouncer Tony Lip (Mortensen). The Copacabana was where Tony worked full time, but during a two-month closure for renovations, he had to find a new gig to pay the bills. Despite his own feelings towards people of color, he took the job as Mr. Shirley’s driver and security personnel as he played a tour of shows in the segregated deep south of the 1960s.
The casting is perfect in this film. Every performance rings true, but the heart of it is definitely the chemistry between Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. Add to that the lush cinematography of the south and all that music you hear on the radio as well as on stage and you have magic. The soundtrack of great music from this time period will make you want to revisit the old record collections your parents might still have. We watch as the two men get to know each other as they travel for hours between performances and eat at elegant and not so elegant joints. Tony has a hard time being eloquent when it comes to writing home to his loving wife Dolores (Linda Cardellini), so the doctor jumps in and helps him write how he feels, making her the envy of all her friends and family when she reads them to the girls.
Green Book is a great film and at the center of it is the warm friendship that develops between the two men. However, it’s not just all laughs and feel-good moments. This movie shows the genuine issues that people of color had to deal with in the South at that time. The film gets its title from a book that was actually used by people of color for years to travel by in the South. Its full title was The Negro Motorist Green-Book. It listed the hotels they were allowed to stay at and restaurants where they would be served. It also contained the “sundown” towns they needed to avoid at night if they wanted to stay out of real trouble.
The film Green Book is a must see this holiday season. It’s timely, touching and will be on everyone’s top ten list come awards time. I give this film a solid A+ rating.
Directed by Peter Farrelly
Written By Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly
Selig Rating A+
Running Time 2h 10min
Drama / Comedy / Biography
Limited Release to wide release November 16th AMC Northpark 15, Cinemark West Plano
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.