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Green Book

  • 2019
  • PG-13
  • 130min
  • 79%
  • 8.3 / 10

Refined and sophisticated pianist Don Shirley employs brash and brazen bouncer Tony Lip from the Bronx as his driver and bodyguard for his eight-week long concert tour in the Deep South. Their personalities clash, but they learn that they must put their differing dispositions aside to navigate a vast road filled with prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and other painful realities that beset society.

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Green Book's title was derived from a travel guide officially called The Negro Motorist Green Book. Originating from Victor Hugo Green, the book compiles all business establishments that were considered safe spaces for African-American patrons during the segregation epoch in U.S. history, a time characterized by openly unjust laws that catered to the supremacy of White Americans.

During the time, the automobile industry in America had rose to a robust height due to the stable financial conditions in the country. This allowed people to afford their own private cars as a means of transportation during their leisure times and vacation days.

However, this was a circumstance that was not met by the Black American community with joyous extravaganzas and lavish indulgence. Members of said community’s emerging working-class bought automobiles and eventually saw driving as an opportunity to free themselves from humiliation and discomfort in the public sphere, so the Green Book was significantly helpful in their day-to-day travel. This was the way things had been before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed legal measures that promoted racism.

Green Book movie review

There is a built-in problem with biographical films - they are always at high-risk of misplacing some factual details. And everyone thought Green Book was no exception to that. According to the world-class pianist's brother, Maurice Shirley, Tony was nothing more than Don's employee. But truth be told, Tony Vallelonga's son Nick, who co-wrote the film, really did talk to Shirley before his passing. He even made a pact with the famed pianist not to tell the latter's family about their conversations. To put it in simpler terms, Green Book is still accurate when it comes to depicting the characters' relationship. And thanks to the lead cast's finely-honed acting skills and Peter Farrelly's subliminal directing, the film turned out to be a substantially smart and compelling story - one filled with rich social commentaries.

There may have been several films that touched on sociopolitical issues, but Green Book is definitely one for the books. However, Green Book's supreme glory does not singularly hinge on the wonders that were brought to the table by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. Nor does it solely rely on Peter Farrelly's thorough directorial supervision that gave life to a true story. Green Book's handling of an institutionalized issue that has left some residue in modern times is its real focal strength, which is inarguably guided and well-crafted despite bearing so much gravitas.

With thought-provoking dialogues and moving scenes, the film invites its audience to take the discussion to a whole new altitude. And to make Green Book easier to embrace, the screenwriters also went out on a limb to add a lot of leeway for zany humor throughout the entire film. That is why it is no wonder that Green Book is an unpredictable force to be reckoned with. One moment, it is making its audiences laugh and the next they know they are already bursting in tears.

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about the movie

Based on a true story, Green Book (2018) is an American biographical comedy-drama film directed by two-time Golden Globe Award-winning Peter Farrelly, who is well-renowned for his strong affinity for the comedy genre. Farrelly’s celebrated films include There’s Something About Mary (1998), Shallow Hal (2001), and The Heartbreak Kid (2007). Green Book stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in the lead cast. The film was budgeted at an estimated $20 million and earned over $100 million worldwide at the box office.