Green Book is a charming film about a true friendship

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Green Book is a charming film about a true friendship

Brendan Sheardy, Staff Writer

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     Green Book tells the story of a real life friendship between an Italian-American driver, Tony Lip, and an African-American musician, Don Shirley. The two bond while Lip drives Shirley through the deep south in 1962 on a concert tour. This film stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali and is directed by Peter Farrelly.

     One would not expect a film with this subject matter to be funny. This motion picture deals with racial tension in the 1960s as Shirley, a black musician, must deal with the segregation laws during his two month tour of the deep south. The film doesn’t go as in depth with these issues as productions such as Blindspotting and BlackKklansman did earlier in the year, but it offered a light-hearted alternative to what were dark, and sometimes depressing, pictures.

     Director Peter Farrelly comes from a comedic background; he previously directed Dumb and Dumber, Hall Pass, and There’s Something About Mary. His films were mostly raunchy and began to decrease in quality as the years went by, so I was not expecting him to bring as much depth as he did charm.

     Both leads are at the top of their game. Viggo Mortensen is the best he’s been since Lord of the Rings. He was charming, funny, and had a great Italian accent. Mahershala Ali comes back from his Oscar win for Moonlight in 2017 with another fantastic supporting role. He  perfectly captured the essence of a rich snob with his gestures and speech delivery. Both actors have great chemistry together, which creates a back-and-forth between the two that produces most of the film’s biggest laughs. Oscar nominations for both actors should be right around the corner.

     This was also a refreshing take on what is a tired genre- the “road trip” movie. Road trip movies are usually reserved for low-end comedy films made by studios who have run out of ideas. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a road trip movie that has heart and doesn’t feel like it was thrown together. I haven’t seen a road trip picture given this much care sine Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

     While this is mostly a light hearted and funny movie, it does take a step in the other direction a few times when it goes more in depth into the racial issues of the south. This is highlighted in a few powerful moments where someone as rich and powerful as Don Shirley is forced to eat, get dressed, and sleep, just because he is black. It’s unbelievable that wealthy white men during the 60s would invite Shirley to their home, give him a special parking spot, and have hundreds of other white people come to see him play, but force him to use an outhouse instead of a regular bathroom. It was sickening to see of screen, but contributed to the film’s overall message.

     Overall, Green Book had a lot of charm to it, but wasn’t afraid to dive deeper into its message, making this one of 2018’s best films so far. It wasn’t perfect, but I had a great time watching this film, and I highly recommend seeing it when it releases in theaters on November 21.

     Rating: 8/10

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Green Book is a charming film about a true friendship