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Inspired by a true friendship.
Winner of Best Picture at the 2019 Academy Awards, this road comedy-drama stars Viggo Mortensen as an Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx hired to drive a world-class concert pianist (Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar here and for 2016's Moonlight) on a tour across the 1960s American South.
Confronted with racism and danger along the way, they must set aside their differences while relying on "The Green Book" to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Directed by Peter Farrelly (There's Something About Mary).
Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) & Original Screenplay, Academy Awards 2019; Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Performance (Mahershala Ali) & Screenplay, Golden Globes 2019; Grosch People's Choice Award (Farrelly), Toronto International Film Festival 2018
- Peter Farrelly('Dumb and Dumber', 'There's Something About Mary', 'Dumb and Dumber To')
Rating: M Offensive language
It’s 2019, and cinematic portrayals of racism, ideally, need to have progressed beyond the retrograde, broadly digestible lessons of Green Book. Following 2018's necessary incendiary punch of BlacKkKlansman and 2017's Get Out, the heart-warming, Oscar-bait packaging of Peter Farrelly’s film—based on a true story—almost smacks of fantasy.
That’s why I find myself surprised to have enjoyed this as much as I did, even recognising its approach to socially conscious storytelling has led at least one reviewer to describe it as the origin story of “how that racist guy who says ‘I’m not racist, I have a black friend’ met his black friend.”
Green Book is basically In The Heat of the Night repurposed as a Christmas stocking stuffer, decked out in cornball odd-couple, tit-for-tat laughs. The film entertains sufficiently on that level. As a close study of race politics, it’s idealised, overly glossy and goofy as all get out.
It doesn’t hurt that Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are an infectiously hammy hoot together. They bring some heft to a screenplay that’s primarily centred around contrasting buddy schtick: Mortensen’s Tony Lip, a Bronx-raised, burly nightclub bouncer re-examines his bigoted attitudes as he goes on the road in the Jim Crow-era South, chauffeuring black Steinway-pounding classical virtuoso Don Shirley (Ali), who in turn, comes to terms with the difficulties posed by his class status.
Yes, Green Book is far from a complicated act. But its cartoonish sincerity and beaming optimism make it an agreeable two-hour reprieve from a more serious, complex conversation—one that needs to start again immediately after the credits have rolled.
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)
Great music and a fascinating story or two very different men on a challenging journey. I really enjoyed it.
Top Class all round
Riveting from beginning to end. Great paced movie that didnt have any slow spots. Great characters & excellent directing from Peter Farrelly who never disappoints with pace and story. Top notch acting from all key roles. Fascinating look into the times and differences between north & south USA
Formulaic But Fun
Extremely cliche and generic but a nice watch none-the-less. Wish the direction was more exciting and the story defied more of the conventions I was wanting to break. Its worth checking out but nothing special.
i really loved this films freshness about the trip of the black , negro american , and the italian american ,side by side as they go down south in the 1960s. it was a very honest and heart warming movie .with two very good and popular stars playing the leading roles . they make the film .
For all the hype and fanfare that surrounded McKay's Vice, Green Book slides into the awards race modestly as the most entertaining race film of the last 5 years. More humourous than Spike Lee's latest, with solid performances from a robust Mortensen and a layered Ali, Green Book delivers laughs, action, music and a wallop of deep south scenery that sends it into the realm of greatness. Mortensen's dedication to the role of brutish Tony Lipp outshines the prosthetic work and grumbling Bale churned out as Dick Cheney, while Ali's charm and charisma as a talented musician, who's forced to re-evaluate his stoicism, further amplifies the anticipation surrounding his turn in True Detective. Finally an award-winning film that actually entertains instead of purposing itself as high art.
Preview Screening on Christmas Eve
This is a lovely film and although it doesn't delve too far deep into the key issues it has a supremely uplifting feeling about it. The characterisation (and portrayal) of Tony Vallelonga is ace. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are great as is Linda Cardellini who flies under the radar. No pass on the Bechdel test because the focal point is two men. Sure to be a classic Christmas movie (for TV rotation).