Welcome to this written review exclusive to TalkingMovies.ca. This time around I will be reviewing the
2019 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture… GREEN BOOK.
Green Book is the true story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer that becomes the driver for an
African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
Green Book stars Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip and Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don
Shirley. Green Book was directed by Peter Farrelly and was written by Tony Lip’s son Nick Vallelonga.
Green Book sits at 69 on Metascore and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I sat down to watch this movie right before the Oscars started, and I regret not watching it before we
made our picks on Wheeler in the Morning. Green Book did everything right and at times was poking me
in the feels. No, I didn’t cry… someone was chopping onions.
The story isn’t an entirely new one, think of a reverse Driving Miss Daisy, but a younger pair. There are
some very powerful scenes in this movie showing a glimpse of the culture of the deep American south in
the 60’s. One particular scene shows the car break down in front of a plantation. This causes Tony Lip to
jump to action repairing the car, while Dr. Shirley rests against the car. This causes this causes the
workers (heavily implied to be slaves…) to stop working and take notice of the role reversal atypical of
the time. Like I said… powerful.
This is a wonderfully layered film that has a good pace to it, however it isn’t perfect. Some elements
were shown, but not elaborated on at all. For example, the movie starts with a couple plumbers in
Tony’s home that are African-American. When they leave, he throws out the glasses they use. The next
scene he happily accepts the job to drive an African-American man across the Deep South, acting as a
driver/bodyguard. He then becomes an expert in all things “black-cultured” and puts all of his racist
beliefs aside. Other elements were shoved in your face repeatedly until it became annoying; for
example, the sheer amount that Tony Lip can eat, and his food obsessions.
Viggo Mortensen plays a very believable gangster-type, and most scenes involving food end up being
quite comical. Mahershala Ali is incredible as Dr. Shirley, which the Academy recognized in awarding him
the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. They definitely got it right from what I’ve seen. The supporting cast is
made up of family members from the Vallelonga family which were all hired through a ruse by Nick
Vallelonga, by telling the director that Viggo vouched for them, and telling Viggo that Peter Farrelly
I give Green Book an A.