By: Rachel Murphy
Green Book rated PG13, in cinemas now.
Why is it that the most unlikely friendships are always the most moving? I think it’s the acceptance and the growth you see in the people. Green Book is based on the true story of a most unlikely friendship.
Dr Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South of the U.S. in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.
Dr Don Shirly (Doc) is determined to be dignified. Everything he is and does is a conscious act to break the crushing stereotypes white society placed on him. This landed him in limbo. He’s not white enough, he’s not black enough either, not accepted by any culture. His heart has been so hardened by the hurt he has endured that when you eventually witness him desperately reach out to grasp Tony’s friendship, it’s hard not to ball your eyes out.
Tony Lip is naive. He’s lived in the same place than his father lived in, that his father lived in. He works so much that he’s never travelled and the opening scene sets you up to immediately reject his character. But as the film progresses Tony’s mind opens and his heart softens to the reality that these people are treated so horrifically for no reason. But his own realisation that these people are just people is not enough for him and you fall in love with his what-you-see-is-what-you-get charm.
He loudly and unapologetically questions the words and actions of the people in these ‘sundown’ towns. Of course, by this point in the movie, I was rooting for the success of the duo. But that made me think: What would I be like? What if I was a born and bred Texan in the ’60s? Would I silently carry on with my life watching this day to day racism? Or even be a part of it? I’d love to think that I’d be a trailblazer like Tony but would I really have had the courage?
I’ve never witnessed any full-blown, in your face situations like that depicted in the movie. But I’ve heard under-the-breath comments and the seen those subtle looks. So, what will I do next time?
Green Book is at times heart warming and at other’s heart breaking. It will have your stomach in knots as you watch confrontingly blunt racism. Then it will make your cheeks sore from grinning.
One thing to note for parents:
Some of the scenes contain mild violence and some language. There is also one plot point where a sex scene is implied (you don’t see anything). This movie is appropriate for teens but get ready to answer some heavy questions.
Green Book is the perfect mix of challenging and feel good and is 100% deserving of the 3 Golden Globes it won. Green Book is a must see.