Movie Review: Green Book






The film Green Book is a tale of two men that are complete polar opposites in society, who under remarkable circumstances, find out the true definition of friendship while confronting racism and the dangers of segregation. Based on a true story, director Peter Farrelly brings the story of Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) to the big screen.

At the beginning of the film, we are taken to Manhattan, New York in 1962. The audience is introduced to Tony Vallelonga also known as Tony Lip. Tony is a family man from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx where he lives with his wife, Delores (Linda Cardellini) and their two sons. At night, Tony is a well-known tough talking bouncer at the legendary New York nightclub, Copacabana, but due to some upcoming renovations taking place at the club for a few weeks, Tony finds himself unemployed. Desperate for work, he contacts an old business partner of questionable character who knows of a high paying but dangerous job for him. Tony, with no other sources of income, decides to check it out.

The film then transitions to Dr. Donald Shirley, who is a famous African American classical and jazz pianist and composer.  He plans to embark on a concert tour throughout the Midwest and the Deep South, which at the time, was heavily influenced by Jim Crow. Before heading out on his eight week concert tour, he needed a new chauffeur. Off of the strength of recommendations, Dr. Shirley invites Tony to his home for a personal interview. Surprised that a black man was looking to hire him as a chauffeur and to fulfil other duties, Tony declined on the basis of his racist judgments. The pay was good but handling the tedious duties of “Doc” as he referred to Dr. Shirley, wasn’t worth it. The skin color of Dr. Shirley made Tony say no, but the thought of his wife and children not having a good Christmas was more than enough to make him say yes.

As the film progresses, we see the men begin to form this bond that was completely unexpected. After all, Dr. Shirley only needed a driver, not a new life long best friend. The two learn that even though the test of time may make them sworn enemies, spending eight weeks with each other changed their outlook on life. Dr. Shirley and Tony teach each other valuable lessons of equality, integrity, and brotherhood.

Green Book is a film that I highly recommend going to see with your best friend. According to the family of the late Dr. Shirley, some parts of the storyline don’t do the life of their beloved justice but it’s up to you to decide whether this film is a “must-see”.

With a $23 million dollar budget, Farrelly took on the task of telling a controversial story that lead to $5.5 million dollars in ticket sales on its opening night. To date, the film has grossed over $57 million dollars at the box office.

I rate this film 8 stars out of 10 stars.