In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
In 1962, Tony "Tony Lip" Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work when his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America's racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America's appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other's talents and start to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
While Green Book focuses on Tony Lip and Don Shirley, one should not forget the two other members of the Don Shirley Trio, George, the double bassist, and Oleg, the cellist. Peter Farrelly has sought out both musicians who knew how to play comedy and actors capable of playing instruments. He finally chose veteran actors, musicians in their spare time: Mike Hatton plays the double bass while Dimiter D. Marinov plays the violin for fifteen years. Though he had not played a cello before, he worked day and night with a teacher, with only five days of preparation. Once engaged, production paid for his lessons. In the space of a month he mastered the six pieces played in the film. See more »
Tony talks to the stage manager in Indiana and complains about the piano not being a Steinway. Tony mentions Dr. Shirley's name and tells him he is the performer. The stage manager says "who is that?" and then makes a racial slur a few seconds later, but no one told him Dr. Shirley was black.
This does seem to be an error, but it's possible the stage manager didn't know the name of the person performing, but DID know that it was a black man. So, saying, "Who's that?" but using a racial slur moments later is entirely feasible. See more »
You know, when you first hired me, my wife went out and bought one of your records. The one about the orphans?
Dr. Don Shirley:
Yeah. Cover had a bunch of kids sittin' around a campfire?
Dr. Don Shirley:
Dr. Don Shirley:
Orpheus in the Underworld. It's based on a French opera. And those weren't children on the cover, those were demons in the bowels of Hell.
No shit! They must've been naughty kids!
See more »
Real-life photos of Dr. Donald Shirley and Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga, and a few insights into their life after the events in the movie, are shown before the credits roll. See more »
... just that it's so inoffensive, safe, and cliche that I feel like I've seen it a million times before. Mortensen and Ali are terrific actors, and I am thankful for them. Without their charisma (and Viggo's willingness to shove insane amounts of food down his throat), I fear Green Book would be dead on arrival.
Mostly, I think this is a movie that's desperately afraid of 'offending' anyone. For instance: if there's a scene with racist cops, there will also be a scene with a good cop down the road, just to make clear that the movie is not stating or suggesting that 'all cops are/were racist'. It's also funny that the good-cop scene happens in the snow, to let us know the characters are back in a blue state, where supposedly life wasn't so bad for a black man after all! This is one of the many simplistic moves that indicate to me that the filmmakers were willing to sacrifice the complexities of their themes for a feel-good entertainment.
The script wants both characters to 'learn' from each other and eventually change and grow, but to make this happen, it turns them into unrealistic caricatures. It's a bit frightening how Shirley is portrayed as a complete ignorant of black culture, but it had to be this way so Tony can be the one to 'introduce' him to it. Tony's transformation comes simply from witnessing racism first hand, as if he never experienced such a thing in his life before - maybe another consequence of this being a blue state-red state movie??
So besides the performances, that speak for themselves, I think it's a very uninspired effort. At one point the characters leave the car for no reason other than to have a dramatic confrontation in the rain, as if rainy night equals 'dramatic weight'. I saw it in a packed movie theater and people seemed to enjoy it. You can't blame them. The movie has a 'now everything's fine' conclusion that can leave audiences in a good state of mind - but it also
shows how simplistic it really is.
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