Peter Farrelly isn’t usually known for more serious subject matter but, Green Book mixes some comedic moments and said serious subject matter. He has directed with his brother such films as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary & Shallow Hal etc. These films are a lighter fair. There’s some comedic moments involving Viggo Mortensen’s character Tony Lip/Villalonga and Don Shirley Mahershala Ali’s character. They both come from different walks of life. Tony comes from a tough Italian neighborhood full of gangsters. Don Shirley lives in seclusion at the top of the Carnegie Hall. He dresses in his robes and sits on his throne. This leads to some very funny scenes. One in particular involving Kentucky Fried Chicken. Part of which you can see in the trailer.
Viggo is coming off of an Academy Award nomination a couple years ago for Best Actor for Captain Fantastic and Mahershala Ali is coming off of an Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight. So these guys are a hot commodity in Hollywood. The chance they could team up for this two-hander is a good thing. Tony Lip is a family man who works at the Copacabana a famous nightclub in New York City and Shirley is a rather famous concert pianist. On some down time from the Copa Tony picks up a part time job as a chauffeur and muscle for Don Shirley. He’s embarking on a tour of the deep South. He needs Tony for his driving skills and protection.
Driving through the state’s and towns of the Midwest and South provides the characters time to acquaint themselves with each other. Of course they are vastly different people in every sense of the word. The title of the film Green Book comes into play as they have to schedule accommodations and leisure time. They both end up in different locations sometimes. This is the book that tells you where African Americans can eat and sleep in the south and still be safe. Another aspect of the deep South is curfews. Neither one of our main characters knew about this little detail of their travel itinerary. This provides for an interesting dynamic between Tony and Don Shirley.
In the end what this film is really about is a friendship between the two unlikely traveling companions. How there differences strengthen their friendship by the end of the film. Farrelly really does a great job of capturing this in the the film. This makes for two great performances from both the leading actors. They are both worthy of Academy Award nominations. Also a strong script by Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga and Brian Currie could be up for Best Original Screenplay. When you’re looking for a movie to see this holiday season look no further then Green Book. It’s the film everyone should see and it’s the film I can’t talk about enough. It’s such a warm family film even though it deals with some touchy subjects such as race, religion & sexual orientation. It handles these subjects very carefully with kid gloves. This is a beautiful film for people of all ages, races and sexes. I hope everybody loves Green Book as much as I did.
Dan Skip Allen