Green Book (2018)
I have to admit to having a bit of trepidation before watching this film on Netflix last night. For one thing, I knew there would be racial discrimination and even a little bit of violence, but I wasn’t expecting the humour and pathos, in equal measure.
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.Storyline (from IMDb)
This is an excellent film for allowing two individuals the chance of a lifetime to become friends in spite of their differences. And the fact that it’s based on a true story makes it even better.
The fried chicken scene was probably the funniest in the whole film, and turns out to be the best preparation that Tony provided Don for a dinner that happens later in the story.
And the surprise of the century was when Don makes his one phone call to his lawyer when they were locked up in a jail in a ‘sunset’ town, only to have Bobby Kennedy pull some strings.
But is the story true?
If you love classical music, Don Shirley’s recitals in the film are beautiful. And if you wonder what he would do with popular music, the final ‘concert’ will show you. The man was a genius.