If you’ve been watching films to get you through the lockdown and are looking for recommendations, you can’t go wrong with this!
Green Book (2018)
A friend of mine hounded me for months to watch this movie. In fact, the night he watched it I got a text from him saying “I’ve just watched one of the best films I’ve seen for a long time. You must watch it.”
It took me a while to get round to it (I don’t tend to go for dramas) but when I finally did I totally understood why he’d raved about it so much. Its brilliant and it’s since become one of my favourite films.
Co-written and directed by Peter Farrelly - one half of the Farrelly Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary), Green Book stars Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Linda Cardellini (Daddy’s Home) among others.
The story is inspired by true events.
This is what it’s about according to the internet:
“Dr Don Shirley (Ali) is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip (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.”
There’s nothing I can say about this film that could sell it better than the trailer (see below) but it’s a movie I think everyone should watch.
I watch a lot of films and few leave an impression on me like this one.
Viggo Mortensen (who piled on a few pounds for the role) is brilliant as Tony Vallelonga, but it’s Mahershala Ali who steals the show as Dr. Don Shirley, a role he deservedly won a bunch of awards for, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Their chemistry is superb and seeing their relationship evolve through the film is what makes the whole thing so enjoyable.
If you weren’t aware “The Negro Motorist Green Book” was a handbook published in 1936 that provided a list of hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the United States that served African American patrons.
As much as racism is unfortunately still a thing today, it’s shocking to me to think that there was such a divide years ago. Films like this one, Hidden Figures (2016) and Mississippi Burning (1988) to name but a few, highlight the issues all too well and are a shocking and shameful reminder of what things used to be like in some parts of the country.
Despite the film’s serious subject matter, there’s a surprising amount of excellently placed comedy that balances the tone of the film perfectly. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that there would be a few laughs taking into account Peter Farrelly’s other films, but the comedy is very different to the silly (yet hilarious) style of he and his brother’s previous movies.
In fact the only reason he decided to take on the project is because his brother, Bobby had a family tragedy and wasn’t in a condition to make another film at that time.
This is such a beautiful, powerful, heartwarming, funny and often emotional rollercoaster of a film that will (if you’re as soppy as me) have you laughing and weeping all the way through to the satisfying conclusion.
It’s easily one of the (if not the) best film recommendations I’ve ever been given.
Watch it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Seen it? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. Listen out for the hauntingly brilliant song, “Pray” by Sam Smith in the last half of the trailer.