I had put off seeing GREEN BOOK because it's story seemed too simple, maybe a bit too much of a Hollywood take on race relations in the early 1960's. I was wrong. What an enjoyable, powerful,well acted story.
Mahershala Ali has emerged as one of my favorite actors in this season's "True Detective" and he solidifies that here in his Best Supporting Actor Oscar Winning role as Classical pianist Dr. Donald Shirley.
Dr. Shirley is about to tour the South for a series of concerts and he needs a bodyguard.
He finds the perfect one in the classic Italian tough-guy bouncer, Tony "The Lip" Vallelonga.
Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the RIngs, A History of Violence) would seem an odd fit for the role, but he's perfect, losing himself in bravado and the neighborhood accent as Tony.
The film chronicles the entire tour, with each town bringing different challenges and new experiences that divide, bond and enrich Dr. Shirley and Tony.
It's almost episodic in structure, but flows seamlessly. The best part of the film is the growing realization that there is a lot more to both of these men than it would appear.
Their relationship feels real from beginning to end.
There is strong drama and there are also many more laughs than I anticipated. It's consistently funny and very touching.
I'll be damned if the last ten minutes isn't the perfect ending to the story. If you don't walk out of this one will a full heart, I think you might be made of stone.
Linda Cardelini is great as Tony's wise wife Delores, Von Lewis brings a lot of stage presence as singer Bobby Rydell and PJ Byrne adds humor as a record executive.
The blatant racism of the sixties is hard to watch, as it should be. It's revolting.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year, it's Director Peter Farrelly's first drama after years of comedies like "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber".
Inspired by true events, GREEN BOOK is a true feel-good movie with plenty to say and lessons to convey. And that ending!
It gets an A.