Green Book is inspired by the true story of Dr. Don Shirley, a virtuoso pianist. In 1962, he lived above Carnegie Hall and was applauded in the Northeast and worldwide. He chooses with his record label to tour the south – a tough gig for a black man at that time. Dr. Shirley (played by the classy consummate actor Mahershala Ali) hires a driver/bouncer to help him on his tour. Tony Lip (the absolutely incomparable Viggo Mortensen) comes highly recommended. He’s an Italian-American born and raised in the Bronx. He’s not classy, but he knows people and situations. However, this tour proves to be an eye-opener and challenge…for both men.
This movie doesn’t preach, but oh it shows that black, white, educated, street smart, Italian, married, bi-sexual, artistic, tough – etc…are words. At the core, man is human and these two men from very opposite upbringings find a common ground and appreciation for each other. The dialogue is sharp, the directing is tight, and the acting is Oscar worthy. This was a really excellent movie. Both Ray and I laughed out loud at scenes. Ultimately, it just pulled together nicely for Christmas dinner.
I highly recommend Green Book and could easily see it again. And I shall mention Linda Cardellini as Viggo’s wife. She’s always been a solid actress and this role, while in the background, is important as a grounding point for an electric duo. So many good scenes and moments. Treat yourself at Christmas to a really nice cinema experience.