Directed by Peter Farrelly, "Green Book" is a true story about an Italian bouncer who becomes a driver and personal assistant to an African American pianist in the early 1960s.
After Tony Lip's bouncing job gets put on hold for a few months, he is referred to Dr. Don Shirley, an extremely talented musician who is going on a two-month tour in the southern U.S., through Christmas. Shirley hires Lip to get him from gig to gig, but also to protect him from those who do not accept his skin color. After hearing what he'll be paid, Tony takes the job, but during their time together, a friendship blooms and turns into something neither of them expected.
Race is a recurring theme throughout "Green Book" as Dr. Shirley consistently experiences discrimination, even at the venues that are paying him for his talents. At first, Tony seems indifferent when it comes to African Americans and has plenty of ignorant assumptions. However, after getting to know him, we see Tony begin to change and become a caring and compassionate friend to Dr. Shirley.
While that transition has emotional bumps on the road, their connection seems innate.
While race is a huge factor in the movie, the film is actually more about friendship and the strong impact it can have on the human heart. Sometimes friendships can unexpectedly develop and go on to last a lifetime.
"Green Book" (the title refers to a book that acts as a safe guide for African Americans traveling in the South) beautifully displays that message in the most heartwarming of ways. The film can be similarly compared to John Hughes' "Planes Trains and Automobiles," a comedy about two strangers who meet attempting to get home for Thanksgiving and end up becoming the best of friends in the process.
Not enough bromance movies are made these days, but "Green Book" can fill that gap on its own.
The most noticeable reason for the film's success is the acting. The two main roles were perfectly cast, and it's difficult to see anyone else playing them and doing as great a job. Viggo Mortensen plays Tony and Mahersala Ali plays Shirley. The chemistry between these two is perfectly acted out, and their talents seem to bounce off each other in a way that makes for a touching friendship. Each actor has an excellent track record, with Viggo starring in the critically acclaimed "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Captain Fantastic," and Mahersala Ali winning a well-deserved Oscar for 2016's "Moonlight."
"Green Book" is an incredibly heartfelt and touching story that keeps a smile on your face for the majority of its runtime. With the holiday season officially here, this film could not have arrived at a better time. If you're in the mood for a feel-good movie, "Green Book" is, without a doubt, the one to see.
Best scene: What goes down at Dr. Shirley's final show
Most touching moment: The entire last half hour
Best moment: When Tony picks up an entire pizza, folds it in half and takes a bite.