The true story that inspired Peter Farrelly’s Green Book comes to life on the big screen.
Green Book tells the tale of an unlikely duo on a bumpy ride through the deep South.
To set the scene it’s important to note that in 1956, Nat King Cole was attacked onstage by members of the Ku Klux Klan, who had been waiting in the all-white audience of 4,000 in his home state of Alabama. Cole never performed in the South again. To say racial tensions were high is a massive understatement.
So in 1962 when African-American jazz musician Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) prepared to tour the South he recruited some much-needed backup.
Tony Vallelonga aka “Tony Lip” (Viggo Mortensen), a 1960s nightclub bouncer from New York was enlisted as Dr. Shirley’s driver. Armed with ‘The Green Book’, a guide to hotels and restaurants hospitable to black people, Tony does his best to tackle the racial hatred his boss faces along the road.
Little do the duo know that this trip would go on to change them both for the better, and that they would become lifelong friends.
Their road trip of self-discovery begins, with each stop along the way giving Tony a valuable insight into just how bad black people are being treated each and every day.
Tony does his share of brawling to protect Dr. Shirley on the trip, while he returns the favour helping Tony to write beautiful letters for his wife.
Green Book is a movie with heart. It tackles sensitive subject matter with grace, class, race and sexuality. We see both parties learn so much from each other and grown as people as a result.
Tony help’s Dr. Shirley shake off his formal ways and embrace life, where Dr. Shirley helps Tony face his racism and ignorance head on.
Humour underpins this movie is such a sweet way and breaks the tension in moment when you’re close to tears because of the unjustness of it all. The comradery that the two men form is incredible and genuinely comes across in the movie thanks to Ali and Mortensen’s impeccable performances.
The soundtrack is also sublime to check that out if you have the time. You won’t be disappointed.
By Ruth Walker