by J.L. O'Dell
Movie review about Green Book.
Title: Green Book
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 11/16/2018
Director: Peter Farrelly
Starring: Viggo Mortensen as Tony (Tony Lip) Vallelonga
Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley
Linda Cardellini as Doris (Tony’s wife)
This movie is based on a true story and the script was derived from a book written by the son of the bodyguard. It is set in the era of the Jim Crow South. A touring classical pianist played by Ali and his driver/bodyguard played by Mortensen. I don’t want to give to much away if I can help it. You really need to go see this movie.
The movie starts with Tony Vallelonga losing his job at the Copacabana night club in New York City. He is a front door guy/bouncer. His nickname (Tony Lip) comes from the fact he has some good lines and can talk his way out of situations. But as a bouncer, he can also use his fists to persuade people. The Copa closes for two months for renovation, but Tony has a wife and two kids he needs to support. He struggles to find a temporary job. He pawns his watch and even takes on a friend for $50 in a hot dog eating contest. He’s eventually contacted to be the driver for the pianist Dr. Don Shirley.
When they meet for the job interview, Shirley sits on a throne like chair looking very regal and speaks very proper English while Tony tries to explain his skills in his working-class drawl. Tony is hired and the pair set off on a tour that starts in the north, and eventually enters the south.
Shirley tries to maintain the air of himself as the wealthy boss and Tony as his lower-class employee, but that eventually breaks down. The friendship that develops between the two of them is the heart of the movie as the two grow closer throughout the film.
There are many great scenes as this happens, for example, when Tony gets Shirley to eat fried chicken for the first time or gets him to listen to Little Richard in the car or when Shirley dictates love letters for Tony to write to his wife Doris back in New York. Tony is also won over by Shirley’s piano virtuoso.
I liked the scene where they are eating fried chicken while driving and Shirley ask what to do with the bones. Tony just throws his out the window as does Shirley laughing. However, when Tony throws a drink cup out the window, Shirley makes him back up and retrieve it.
I don’t want to give away everything here and I will let you research the history behind the title, “Green Book.”
Lots of emotion, some fights and racial slurs, but it was the era of the 1960’s. I enjoyed this movie and highly recommend that you go see it.