Hot on the heels of its Best Picture award at this year’s Oscars is the deserving Green Book. Here Universal Studios teams up with Dreamworks Studios, Amblin Entertainment and Participant Media to deliver a wonderful look at attitudes and attitude change in America. Call it a coming of age tale with race substituting for sex. Available on multitude video on demand platforms on local cable and now out on DVD Green Book is deserving of all the accolades coming its way.
What a surprise it is to see comedy maestro Peter Farrelly spread his wings. Part brother of the hit dynamic duo of cutting-edge humour in the silver screen this acclaimed director and co-writer takes a hard and inspiring look at racial relations in the U.S. in the early 60s. Back in those days black and white did not mix freely – especially In the South. For two hours this tale charts the tumultuous course of two men from different walks of life and different histories who somehow come together on an uneven road to salvation and self-realization. Who would have thought it?
Based on a true, yet hard to believe story, our journey starts off in New York. Here the paths of loveable tough guy Tony Lip and cultured Dr. Don Shirley cross paths.
Surely actors Vigo Mortensen (Eastern Provinces) and Mahershala Ali are up to the task and their soft-spoken (?) chemistry is combustible.
Watch the fireworks fly as Shirley, an acclaimed concert pianist needs a driver for “protection” on his tour of the south. Think Driving Miss Daisy with ramped up humour and bountiful tension. Who better than Tony, a tough talking strong-arming Copacabana bouncer from the Bronx to provide the right solution?
While on the road, and even beforehand, the seeds of inbred racism are sewn. Subtle hints become the genesis for intolerance and misunderstanding as the pair encounter all sorts of painful situations and hostility. Forced to rely on a publication called The Green Book Tony and Dr. Shirley must stay at black only hotels no matter what one’s station in life or place of employment. Over the course of two months away from home these two men from different backgrounds, cultures and histories learn to adapt, get to know each other, understand each other and ultimately like and respect each other in a wonderful humane way. Like the famous lyric from the a hit Beatles alumni song “it don’t come easy” truer words could never be heard,
With a great atmosphere perfectly sending you back in time Green Book is a delight to witness. Now more than ever in a tide of global intolerance Green Book and its creators needs to be seen. And lessons should and will be learned.
By Robert Waldman