Green Book, rated R
Green Book is inspired by a true story. It is a well-written, directed and acted film, one of the best films I’ve seen this year, but has some content concerns to be aware of. The film is directed and co-written by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber). Farrelly wrote the film with Nick Vallelonga, son of Tony Lip, one of the lead characters in the film, and Brian Hayes Currie. The film had a production budget of $23 million.
The movie takes place over a two-month period in 1962. Tony Lip, played by two-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic, Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings films), is a racist Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx, employed at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City. In 1962, he accepts a job driving and protecting the renowned and arrogant African-American jazz pianist Don “Doc” Shirley, played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), on a music tour through the Midwest and deep South. The tour had been booked by Columbia Artists, Shirley’s management company and he would be playing at whites-only theaters and parlor rooms. His safety was a legitimate concern as only six years prior in 1956 Nat King Cole had been assaulted on stage while performing for an all-white audience in Birmingham, Alabama. Lip actually traveled with Shirley for a year and a half, which the film condenses into two months. Lips’ son, screenwriter Nick Vallelonga has said that shortening the trip for the film was the only major creative license that the filmmakers took. Continue reading