It’s not often a movie can make me crave KFC, but here we are.
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Director: Peter Farrelly
Synopsis: Set in 1960s America, this is the story of Italian-American rough tough bouncer guy Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) who is employed to be the driver of African-American classical pianist Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on his tour of the southern states of America. Armed with the ‘Negro Motorist Green Book’ and two very different personalities, a strange but beautiful friendship is formed.
Opinion: So I went into this movie not really knowing what the title represented, an actual Green Book that was used to assist African-American’s when travelling around the country and showed them where they were permitted to stay and eat. To go off topic for second, it honestly hurts my heart that this literally wasn’t that long ago and even today society still is still so backwards at times….but anyway, back to this story.
We have a black performer being driven around by a white Italian American in the deep south during the 1960s. Now if I didn’t already know it was based on a true story I would have told you it was the most unrealistic story every, but nope it happened and its real and the movie really does a wonderful job at springing it to life again. But most importantly…..the acting. Mahershala Ali is just SO GOOD! Seriously his presence on screen is a powerful entity and really brings across the struggle this man is facing as someone who is wealthy and successful but doesn’t feel like he quite belongs into this world that is dominated by successful white men and yet also doesn’t feel like he belongs in the world of black American who look at him like he’s an outsider BECAUSE of that same wealth and success.
Then there is Viggo Mortensen who is a rough tough typical Italian guy from a big family, says what he wants and punches first and asks questions later…..it’s a brilliant performance by him as well and brings the very opposite to everything the Doc is which balances it out in quite a nice way.
Every aspect of this film is beautifully portrayed even the horrible moments. It feels extremely realistic for the time and holds nothing back……and yet, it still finds time to be quite funny and I found myself laughing at the strangest things like eating KFC. Now to throw a spanner in the works I don’t think it deserved the best picture Oscar but I do think it definitely deserved to be a contender because it truly is a great film.
Them Feels Though: No tears warning this time but instead there is a call out to racism and hate violence. While it’s kind of assumed that this would be present in a film of this nature, it’s still worth noting especially with the dialogue at times which is rather derogatory.