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Drama - US

Green Book (2019 in Spain)


Duration 2h 10m Rating (UK) 12A
Source of story Said to have been “inspired” by real events, supported by the fact that the main writer of the story is Nick Vallelonga, Tony’s son.
Director Peter Farrelly
Writers/Script Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton

Elevator Pitch: An African-American pianist, Don Shirley, who is contracted to play with his musical support at a large number of venues in the deep south in 1962, hires an ex-night club bouncer as his driver and assistant. Tony, the bouncer is barely literate while Don, the Doc, as well as being a super pianist has a degree in Psychology and is extremely refined. Initially they do not get on, but as the tour progresses they develop mutual respect, and Tony’s talents become necessary as Don is faced with problems in “Whites Only” environments.

Content: Tony is seen being tough during a fracas in the nightclub, a lot of eating takes place, in New York and in the car as the trip progresses. Don is encouraged to try Kentucky Fried Chicken. When Don gets into difficulties because of his colour and, on one occasion, his sexual orientation, we see Tony come to the rescue either being tough or negotiating, particularly with the police. We are generally appalled by the segregation in the southern states in 1962. I would have said “nothing to offend”, but see Additional Info.

A View. We now know that this oeuvre won Best Picture at the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs as well as many other awards. I’m not quite sure whether it rated this level of adulation but nevetheless I really enjoyed it, mainly because of the fact that Tony’s special skill (always good to give your characters one) is threatening people. Don also has a special skill, playing the piano, and I also enjoyed the music apart from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” which I have always hated. So basically don’t be put off by the critical enthusiasm.; it is fun.

Additional Info: Don Shirley’s family have protested at the portrayal of the relationship between the two characters, others have protested at the fact that Don’s sexual orientation was skated over and yet others have protested at the portrayal of a “white saviour narrative”. But it’s a movie folks, not life!

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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