The Green Book was one of the best movies I have seen for a long time. Based on the true story of Dr Don Shirley a world-class African-American pianist and Tony Vallelonga a bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx, it is an intelligent and sensitive film that showcases how friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places.
The two men come together when Don Shirley who is about to embark on a concert tour of the Deep South in 1962, employs Vallelonga to be his driver and protector. Because of the racial segregation still experienced in the Southern states, the two men use the “Green Book” to help them safely navigate the sometimes dangerous terrain. The “Green Book” is a reference to “The Negro Motorist Green Book” which was published up until 1967. The book listed locations and businesses where black people could safely visit, eat, shop and lodge. During the trip, the two men encounter racism and harassment, even whilst being welcomed as guests of honour. Despite their immense differences, the two men develop a mutual respect and a strong bond of friendship is formed, with each learning from the other. This friendship was to last throughout their lifetime.
The movie shows how segregation made no exception for class or education and casts a shadow over the treatment of black people during this era, which is not too distant in the past; but although it addresses a serious subject, this movie also has its humorous moments.
The acting is superb and the story heartwarming; the film has been awarded a total of five Oscar nominations including Best Actor for Viggo Mortensen and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali – both well deserved, in my opinion.
Watch the trailer here
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