Set in a dark period where racism and homophobia was rife in the United States, Green Book entails a sweet and heartwarming story of friendship between two people from different backgrounds: easy-going Italian immigrant Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a black, wealthy and talented musician. This true story presents the itinerary of Shirley’s tour in the ‘deep South’ alongside his bodyguard, chauffeur and friend-in need Tony. The Green Book is the travel guide with hotels and restaurants that accept the presence of black people.
Even from the first sequences of the movie, the whole journey sheds light in both a humorous and heart-wrenching manner on the problems of American society in the sixties. It shows how the talent of a musician can be overshadowed by the colour of one’s skin to the point that it degrades an artist and humiliates even further.
With all that said, it is surprising that no matter how many racist remarks, violent actions or never-ending obstacles appear on the journey, the virtuoso continues to fight for his principles with courage and dignity, even evoking a change in Tony’s perspectives, an amusing man with a specific dictation and speech full of profanities.
The outstanding acting perfectly encapsulates the warmth of a new-found friendship between two people in different positions, with discrepancies known then to be untouchable.
Funny, witty and sincere, the movie sparks an inner-debate into the minds of the watchers: the dreadfulness of those times is actually not a heavy topic, it only shows the ridiculous and horrible ways Don Shirley was treated and how he handled racist situations with dignity and seriousness.
The mastermind behind the creation, Peter Farelly, looks through the lenses of two unlikely friends and serves as an eye-opener to a world of suffering, neglect, and ostracism. All in all, the movie combines remarkable visuals of the Carnegie Theatre, rooms full of fine art and natural sceneries on the road with heartfelt performances given by Ali and Mortensen.
Image credit: Movie DB