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Green Book

Green Book 2

By Joanna Langfield

This crowd pleaser may be just the movie we need right now.

Based on a true story, this is a rather conventional and seemingly simple road trip movie. Two men, and odd couple from the start, set off on a drive through America’s Deep South in the 1960’s. One’s an elite. One’s not. Oh. The elite? He’s African American. The other guy? He’s Italian. From da Bronx.

You know what’s going to happen here. And director Peter Farrelly seems to have no problem with that. With no fancy footwork, he introduces us to his characters, sets the wheels in motion, as it were, and lets two terrific actors do their thing. What we see, an unlikely male bonding, wariness melting to a vital friendship, happens against a series of prejudices, ones we may recognize from history books, some that are still very much among us today. And if this movie doesn’t gently but firmly convince you those prejudices are shameful, watch it again.

Sure, you might be diverted, impressed by the terrific Mahershala Ali, wonderful as the world class pianist who insisted on a concert tour throughout the South, even if it meant facing bigots and staying in black only hotels listed in the Green Book. And there’s no way you’re not going to have a blast watching Viggo Mortensen expand his waist line and repertoire playing Tony Lip, the mob-adjacent bouncer who takes the job of driver and bodyguard for his family’s Christmas money. Mortensen’s got the more showy role and he’s pure joy to watch. And it’s even more of a treat as he goes so against the grain of most of the roles for which he is best known.

Farrelly, Ali and Mortensen have delivered an undeniably entertaining morality tale that hits its marks as well as our souls.

Based on a true story, this is a rather conventional and seemingly simple road trip movie. Two men, and odd couple from the start, set off on a drive through America’s Deep South in the 1960’s. One’s an elite. One’s not. Oh. The elite? He’s African American. The other guy? He’s Italian. From da Bronx.

You know what’s going to happen here. And director Peter Farrelly seems to have no problem with that. With no fancy footwork, he introduces us to his characters, sets the wheels in motion, as it were, and lets two terrific actors do their thing. What we see, an unlikely male bonding, wariness melting to a vital friendship, happens against a series of prejudices, ones we may recognize from history books, some that are still very much among us today. And if this movie doesn’t gently but firmly convince you those prejudices are shameful, watch it again.

Sure, you might be diverted, impressed by the terrific Mahershala Ali, wonderful as the world class pianist who insisted on a concert tour throughout the South, even if it meant facing bigots and staying in black only hotels listed in the Green Book. And there’s no way you’re not going to have a blast watching Viggo Mortensen expand his waist line and repertoire playing Tony Lip, the mob-adjacent bouncer who takes the job of driver and bodyguard for his family’s Christmas money. Mortensen’s got the more showy role and he’s pure joy to watch. And it’s even more of a treat as he goes so against the grain of most of the roles for which he is best known.

Farrelly, Ali and Mortensen have delivered an undeniably entertaining morality tale that hits its marks as well as our souls.

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