Movie Review: ‘Green Book’

Green Book, a film that takes place in the 1960s, is an American comedy-drama that instantly captivates viewers with a unique storyline and dynamic characters.

The film was released on Nov. 16 2018 and follows a storyline that is anything but predictable from start to finish. Jamaican pianist Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, is about to tour the Deep South and is in need of a driver/security to take him from stop to stop and watch over him for about two months. Local New York bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), also known as Tony Lip, seems like the perfect choice for the job, but is not too excited about this opportunity for a multitude of reasons.

After some negotiating, the two end up becoming a team and unexpected duo for this tour while Vallelonga, an Italian-American man, is still skeptical about the whole idea of working for Shirley under the given circumstances. The racial division is evident and a distinct problem for Vallelonga, but Shirley constantly remains willing to ignore that factor to the best of his ability until it becomes inevitable at one point during the film. The film shows struggle, friendship and how things were back then while following an inspiring true story.

Tony Vallelonga is not the ideal driver for Shirley as his skill-set and background is not what the record company envisioned to be on tour with and accompanying the popular pianist. He has a rather violent background and sometimes fails to be as professional as Shirley would hope him to be. Vallelonga loves to curse, eat and tell people how it is without much of a filter. This, however, is the opposite of Shirley and how the rest of his team operate.

There is constant comedy and banter between Shirley and Vallelonga throughout and this does not go unnoticed by viewers. Shirley teaches Vallelonga lessons he may not have learned elsewhere. The New York local is unaware of how to do simple things like write letters to his wife properly and Shirley is there to guide him along the tour with those tasks and more. This proves to be both humorous and emotional depending on the scenario.

The film evidently portrays its powerful message through the experiences of both Vallelonga and Shirley. Green Book makes it clear that struggle could end in success and things are not always what they seem. If one thing is transparent by the end of the film, it is that both of these men enjoy each other’s company regardless of their various doubts at the beginning of the tour and overcome diversity.

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Written by Alessandra

Alessandra is a music journalist from New York who loves to speak and write about music of all different genres. She has interviewed artists such as Alesso, Surf Mesa, and Neon Trees.