Green Book surrounds Doctor Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a well educated pianist about to go on tour with his trio into the Deep South. He hires Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), an tough Italian bouncer, to be his driver and body guard. Together they encounter blatant racism from the South and form an unlikely friendship.
Firstly, Ali and Mortensen had great chemistry together. Their road tripping was filled with comedic moments that brought levity and felt like a real friendship, though Tony was hesitant about the job at first. This relationship is the crux of the film and what makes the film. The movie also does a great job with balancing the comedy and the drama.
However, I heard criticism that about this film’s take on racism and it’s valid. Tony acts like a white savior of sorts and while it’s done to protect his boss and friend from segregation and discrimination. Tony often says that he wouldn’t put up with it if people treated him that way, but Dr. Shirley has to live that way, he doesn’t always have the chance to stand up for himself and if he does, then there could be dire consequences.
Green Book is just an easy going, enjoyable film. It doesn’t delve too deep into the problem with institutional racism and segregation. It’s more surface level, but that’s okay. Some people claim that this is the best film of the year, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it’s just a easy, enjoyable film to watch.
I give Green Book a B-