The Green Book (2018)
- April 6, 2021
What does an Italian bouncer at the famous Copacabana have in common with a black classical pianist? Not much, but somehow they find their way into mutual respect and friendship while touring through the midwest and Deep South during the 1960s. This is the story of Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Lip as told in The Green Book.
Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) was a popular jazz and classical composer and pianist. When his record label arranges for a tour through the American Midwest and Deep South Dr. Shirley decides to hire out of work bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) to be his driver and general assistant.
The pair get off to a rocky start as they disagree on just about everything. Tony resists Dr. Shirley‘s attempts at refining his coarse habits and Dr. Shirley is annoyed that his very particular routine is regularly disregarded. All of that falls by the wayside as they travel further south and Tony sees blatant, and dangerous, racism hurled at Dr. Shirley first hand. He is appalled and his old bouncer instincts kick in and he soon becomes a bodyguard to the musician as well as a driver.
In turn, Dr. Shirley softens towards the uncouth driver as Tony begins to share more about his family and his wife. Over the course of the weeks on the road, Dr. Shirley coaches Tony in his letter writing skills. Tony’s bland and boring letters turn into heartfelt letters of affection under Dr. Shirley”s careful eye.
Their friendship is tested on the final night of the tour when racism once again rears its ugly head. Dr. Shirley is denied respect and dignity at the whites-only club he as hired to perform at. Dr. Shirley and Tony clash with the club ownership and decide to hit the road and push home for Christmas.
The friendship that was forges during the eight-week road trip lasted a lifetime. Dr. Shirley and Tony remained close over the decades, though they Tony returned to his work as a bouncer at the Copo.
The Green Book won multiple awards and caused quite a stir at the Academy Awards when it beat out several ‘sure wins’ to claim the Best Picture Award. But what is not in dispute is the outstanding job Ali and Mortensen did in bringing this true to life friendship to the big screen.
Be sure to check out this buddy flick like no other on Netflix.
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