It’s 1962 and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) is hired to drive African-American pianist, Dr. Shirley (Mahershala Ali), on a concert tour through the deep south. Confronted with racism and various obstacles, the two must put together their differences to navigate their way.
Despite its inability to fully grasp the difficult subject matter and reach its full potential, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t enjoy Green Book. It is a feel-good crowd-pleaser that will leave the audience with a smile on their face. You’ll laugh. You’ll feel warm fuzzies. What’s not to enjoy?
Could Green Book have been more? Absolutely. The film didn’t want to shy away from the racism and brutality happening at the brink of the Civil Rights Movement, but it did not want to be the focus. Instead, Green Book forces you to focus more on the “buddy comedy” aspects.
That being said, the undeniable chemistry between Mortensen and Ali is by far the best element of the film. The two are a joy to watch on screen together, especially during a scene in which Mortensen convinces Ali to have fried chicken for the first time.
Although Mortensen’s always-hungry, tough-guy Tony was a hilarious (and somewhat stereotypical) watch, it is Ali who is most impressive as the tormented, musical genius. I was blown away by his inability to capture the courage, vulnerability, grace and master piano-playing of Dr. Shirley. Watch out for him this Awards Season.
Final Thoughts: Don’t go into Green Book expecting more than what you see in the trailer, however, DO expect to smile and leave with warm-fuzzy-feel-good feelings.