Green Book is a heartwarming and thought-provoking movie starring Mahershala Ali that takes audiences on a journey through the racial tensions of the 1960s in the United States.
Directed by Peter Farrelly, this film explores the unlikely friendship between a renowned African-American pianist and his Italian-American driver, breaking down barriers of prejudice and discrimination.
Starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, Green Book is an Academy Award winning film that should be on everybody's ‘must watch' list.
What Is Green Book About?
Set in the 1960s, this is the story of Dr. Donald Shirley's life. Portrayed by the talented Mahershala Ali, Shirley was a distinguished African-American classical pianist known for his remarkable musical talents.
However, despite his success in the world of classical music, he faced racism and discrimination in his everyday life due to the colour of his skin.
Dr. Shirley is well aware of the dangers of touring the racially segregated American South, where segregation laws and prejudice against African-Americans are deeply ingrained.
To ensure his safety and help him navigate the challenging racial landscape of the Deep South, Dr. Shirley hires Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, played by Viggo Mortensen.
Tony, a working-class Italian-American, is a bouncer at a nightclub who is known for his resourcefulness in handling difficult situations.
He's a man of simple tastes and has a somewhat prejudiced view of the world, especially concerning race, as was common in that era.
As the film progresses, the stark contrast between Dr. Shirley's refined and cultured personality and Tony's street-smart and rough-around-the-edges demeanor becomes even more obvious.
Initially, their differences create tension, and Tony's prejudices are evident. However, as they embark on their concert tour, they are forced to confront the harsh realities of racism head-on.
The heart of Green Book lies in the transformation of these two characters. Dr. Shirley, with his intelligence and dignity, challenges Tony's preconceptions and biases.
Tony, in turn, begins to see the world through a different lens as he witnesses the injustices faced by Dr. Donald Shirley and others like him.
The film chronicles their journey as they bond over their shared experiences and ultimately develop a deep and genuine friendship that transcends racial barriers.
Green Book Official Trailer
Is Green Book Worth Watching?
Green Book is a compelling and engaging movie that keeps you emotionally invested from start to finish.
The story takes you on a road trip through the racially segregated Jim Crow South It offers a shocking glimpse into the challenges and dangers that African-Americans faced during that era.
The tension and drama that arise from the characters' encounters with prejudice are balanced by moments of humour and heartwarming friendship.
Green Book boasts exceptional performances by its lead actors. Mahershala Ali, in his role as Dr. Donald Shirley, delivers a masterful portrayal of a talented musician navigating a world filled with bigotry.
His performance is nuanced, capturing the elegance, vulnerability, and inner strength of the character. And it deservedly earned him an Oscar.
Viggo Mortensen, as Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, provides a transformative performance, portraying Tony's journey from a man with ingrained prejudices to someone who evolves through his friendship with Dr. Shirley.
Their on-screen chemistry is palpable, making their growing bond all the more authentic and compelling.
With universal themes of friendship and personal growth, the film reminds us that despite our differences in race, culture, or upbringing, we can find common ground and form meaningful connections with others.
Overall, Green Book is one of those almost-perfect films. It is beautifully written, superbly acted, has depth and heart and while it does run dangerously close to Driving Miss Daisy territory, it manages to keep its focus, leaving a lasting impact on those who watch it.
Cast of Green Book Movie
Mahershala Ali (True Detective) as Dr. Donald Shirley, the talented and sophisticated pianist.
Viggo Mortensen (Appaloosa) as Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, the street-smart but warm-hearted driver.
Linda Cardellini as Dolores Vallelonga, Tony's supportive wife who encourages him to take the job as Dr. Shirley's driver.
Sebastian Maniscalco as Johnny Venere, Dolores' brother
Dimiter D. Marinov as Oleg Malacovich, Dr. Shirley's cellist
Mike Hatton as George Dyer, Dr. Shirley's bassist
Is Green Book A True Story?
Yes, Green Book is based on a true story and is inspired by the real-life experiences of Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga during a concert tour of the Deep South in the 1960s.
The title of the movie, Green Book, refers to the “Negro Motorist Green Book,” which was a travel guidebook published from 1936 to 1966.
It provided African-American travelers with information about safe places to stay, dine, and visit during the era of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the United States.
The film takes creative liberties with the actual events but is rooted in the real-life friendship and journey of Shirley and Vallelonga.
That is in contrast to the opinions of Shirley's relatives, including Edwin Shirley (Don's nephew) who criticised the film because they said it misrepresented the pianist's relationship with his family.
Shirley's brother, Maurice Shirley, said, “My brother never considered Tony to be his ‘friend'; he was an employee, his chauffeur.”
However, this is contradicted by audio recordings that featured interviews with Don Shirley and Vallelonga. In them, Shirley said that he trusted Vallelonga and that they never had an employer/employee relationship.
Where Was Green Book Filmed?
Green Book was primarily filmed in various locations in the United States.
True to the story, it was largely filmed in the southern states, with most of the filming taking place in New Orleans and other towns in Louisiana.
Locations include the Orpheum Theater, English Turn Golf & Country Club, International House Hotel, Carver Theater, the French Quarter and Sigle's Antiques – all in New Orleans.
These locations were carefully chosen to recreate the settings of the Deep South during the 1960s, adding authenticity to the film's portrayal of the era.
What Awards Did The Movie Win?
Green Book was widely acclaimed and received numerous awards and nominations, including:
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- Academy Awards (Oscars): Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Best Original Screenplay.
- Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Best Screenplay.
- BAFTA Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Original Screenplay.
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