Film review by Steve Duffy –
One of my favorite movies of the year! Peter Farrelly breaks away from his lowbrow comedy roots and delivers a road trip for all of us.
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
What works so well is the pair’s chemistry and it immediately draws you in and keeps your attention the entire time.
Besides gaining more than 45 lbs. for this role as the racist chauffeur, Viggo’s commitment to his character is what makes this true story of an unlikely friendship movie work so well. He is in full comic mode as a big-mouthed Italian Bronx native and really embraces his character.
Mahershala delivers a magnificent performance as the refined and troubled pianist. His acting was memorizing to watch.
Linda Cardellini, plays Viggo’s Italian wife. The limited screen time that she is given, she is terrific.
The script does make broad strokes and simplicity to make the story work. There are so many relatable, hilarious, and spectacular moments throughout the films that will make you laugh and cry.
Green Book is definitely a different direction in the path that director Peter Farrelly normally takes, and it is a triumph for him.
This tale of unexpected friendship delivers a message that is both positive and urgent given the times we are currently living in.
Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material
Runtime: 130 minutes