With action in 1962, Green Book describes a trip to the South Segregationist of the United States by Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a color pianist, and his Caucasian driver Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). On their journey, the two will use a well-known guide to the era, The Negro Motorist Green Book, listing all the places in the South where African Americans could eat or eat.
Obviously, the context immediately opens comparisons with Driving Miss Daisy, the superhit launched in December 1989, with $ 145 million (a budget of just seven million) and the winner of four Oscars, including Best and Most good original scenario. The familiarity of the premise is matched by the traditionalist approach of director Peter Farrelly (who makes a substantial shift in career after several decades of irreverent comedies like Dumb & Dumber or There’s Something About Mary), Green Book hardly boasting any innovative aspect . The film, however, succeeds in conveying its message and reminding younger generations that it was natural not so many decades ago that a Caucasian would not accept a African American.
Green Book manages to bother with a detail: not much of the story seems to have happened in reality. The script written by Nick Vallelonga (Tony Vallelonga’s son and producer of the film) portrays the difficult relationship of the two protagonists, showing them closer and turning the Green Book into the story of a friendship that ignores the frightening prejudices of the era. It’s just that the pianist’s family, who briefly described the movie as “a bunch of lies” and the fact that the producers did not even find a photo where Vallelonga and Shirley appear together suggest what the team insist on naming a biographical film is rather a fabulous.
Obviously, the Hollywood truth is as slippery as the Hollywood accounting, which labels blockbusters with hundreds of millions of dollars of proceeds as financial failures. The fact that it is the cinematic equivalent of a fake news does not turn the premiere on Friday into a bad movie, but only in a fiction. The public may not care that he is lying as long as Green Book achieves its purpose, that of telling a moving and relevant story. And, fortunately, it does.
Even if it is profoundly non-original (and most likely, neon), and even if it is a new proof that academics prefer conforming to innovation, Green Book is worth seeing as many people as possible. And not only the Americans have something to learn from the film, but also the Romanians. Many of us do not know about or refuse to recognize Gypsy slavery, abolished only in the middle of the 19th century. We never remind ourselves that the race and color of the skin should be irrelevant to our place in society, and Green Book manages to underline this.
Watch below the trailer: