Release Year: 2018
Director: Peter Farrelly
Writers: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalo, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton, .J. Byrne, Joe Cortese
Rating: Nominated for 5 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing. Won 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali). Nominated for 2 Golden Globes: Best Director, Best Actor – Musical or Comedy (Viggo Mortensen).
Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a working-class Italian-American from the Bronx is hired to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shiley (Mahershala Ali) on a concert tour through 1960s American South.
Driving together seems to bring people together and bridge the assumptions and prejudices that divide us – just think of the excellent Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Green Book is in some ways the updated version, but also completely its own thing, mainly because of the two wonderful main characters. Mortensen (Captain Fantastic, 2016) is excellent as the straight talking Italian-American Newyorker who is rough around the edges and knows how to get things done. Ali (Moonlight, 2016) equally excellent as the somewhat arrogant and snobbish piano virtuoso who chooses to leave the safe space of the Northeast and tour the Deep South. Mortensen’s Tony is the one who comes with the most obvious prejudices but as the story unfolds it becomes clear that they both harbour prejudices and that things are not always so black and white. The main attraction of the film is the relationship between Mortensen and Ali; it’s laugh-out-loud fun, heart-warming, and thought-provoking. A great script, excellent performances, wonderful characters, and a strong message of meeting each other first and foremost as fellow human beings, this is a potential classic of its subgenre. It is hard to believe at it is directed by the man who gave us There’s Something About Mary (1998) and Dumb and Dumber (1994). Very highly recommended!
In the bar scene where Don Shirley vows the audience on the piano he is playing Frédéric Chopin’s Étude Op. 25 No. 11 “Winter Wind”, which is considered to be one of the most difficult classical piano pieces to play.
Picture Copyright: UIP