Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book – PG-13
Release Date: Wed 21 Nov 2018

Peter Farrelly, one half of the directing team that is best known for their comedies like There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin this time presents us with a drama based on an unlikely friendship.

Viggo Mortensen stars as Tony Lip, a working-class Italian-American bouncer who is hired by a mysterious black pianist named Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) to drive him on a tour of the American South in the 1960s.

The titular Green Book is something of a Negro traveling atlas with extremely important information about where it was safe to sleep, eat and visit in the south. Tony is given this book to ensure Shirley is as safe as possible while Tony’s whiteness affords him the luxury of not having to worry about what hotels and restaurants he can walk into.

This is a drama, and the subject matter around race in that era of the American South is certainly a heavy topic. But that is not to say that Farrelly completely throws comedy out the window. Comedy is often used to great effect as a tension reducer and keeps Green Book from feeling like an overwrought depiction. Mortensen and Ali are absolutely perfect as the leads, with Mortensen playing our point of view character and Ali creating a character full of mystery and strange contradictions.

This is the rare case where an “important” movie has massive, massive mainstream appeal. It’s coming out the day before Thanksgiving in the US. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in 2018 and I give it an unequivocal recommendation.

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