Green Book is one of those films that is now nominated for awards and a lot of you are like, “What is this movie?” Let me tell you what this movie is about and why it deserves all the awards it has been nominated for.
In order to understand this film, you must know that this is a true story. Don’t know how many of the events are 100% true but the lens of truth makes the story that more compelling. Also, the combination of Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen is PHENOMENAL.
Green Book is, again, the true story of Dr. Don Shirley and Tony “The Lip” Vallelonga and their blossoming friendship through their journey through the South. Shirley is a black pianist who needs a driver to get him to and from his shows in one piece. He needs a bodyguard/driver really. Meanwhile, Vallelonga, an Italian Bronx native, is out of a job at the Copacabana while they undergo renovations. After an awkward interview with Shirley, Shirley calling his wife to make sure she was ok with him leaving for a long period of time and a swallow of pride, he takes the job.
Now I know there has been some controversy surrounding this movie because of Dr. Shirley’s family not agreeing with the portrayal of him in the film and black people thinking it was more of what we call “A White Savior” movie. I agree with none of this for reasons I’ll go into later but for now let’s focus on the movie itself.
Let’s start with this notion of Green Book being a “White Savior” movie. I laughed to myself the entire movie because Dr. Shirley was a genius and a very sophisticated man. Tony was not. The entire movie Dr. Shirley, for lack of a better term, looked down on Tony because of his rough, around-the-way like attitude. The man had no couth. Anything Tony did, Dr. Shirley scoffed at. Tony only knew the way around his block and his community. He was not worldly at all. I found this hilarious. Yes, there were some scenes where Tony saved Dr. Shirley but it was like two, maybe three scenes.
I loved the journey that this film took us on and I would tell anyone to watch this film themselves to determine how they feel about it. Don’t let popular opinion dictate what you see and don’t see. If I did, I would never have seen this film. Do I agree with the Academy Award? No necessarily but I could make a case for it. Either way, watch it for yourself. If for nothing else, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen are phenomenal actors and watching them play off of each other is BRILLIANT.