A predictable and conventional crowd pleaser, Green Book is the commercial, liberal side of addressing racism – more Crash than any Spike Lee film.
An out-of-work nightclub bouncer in 1960s New York, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic, Lord of the Rings) reluctantly accepts a two-month driver’s position. Based on a true story, he’s to drive renowned musician Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali – Moonlight, Hidden Figures) on a tour of the Deep South.
Diametric opposites clash – a physical, racist, Bronx Italian; a sophisticated, judgemental, academic Afro-American. But experiences in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama et al slowly bring respect and friendship.
More known for comedies than issue-based dramas, director Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass) tells a good story but falls short on that extra punch the film so desperately needed. Surprisingly, Green Book won both best film and best original screenplay Oscars. Less surprising was best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali.
Nominated for 5 Oscars in 2019 including best actor for Mortensen, won the 3 above.