TIFF 2018 Review: “Green Book” (2018) ★★★★★


Do you remember “Dumb and Dumber”, “Me, Myself & Irene” or “Shallow Hal”? If yes, then you already know that only Mr. Peter Farrelly could capture subtle humor and combine it with drama where two absolutely different actors act in one movie to deliver something that you can watch at any time, in any weather, or on Christmas eve called “Green Book”.

“Green Book” follows the extraordinary friendship between an Italian-American bouncer and an African-American classical pianist, Dr. Don Shirley, who find themselves on a tour of venues in the 1960s. During the time both will have to learn from each other; one to compromise, the other one to just go along with the flow. By the time they end the tour, both men will never be the same in the most unthinkable way.

Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) works at Copacabana to handle delicate situations at the night club when force is the most suitable language to be used. He’s married to Dolores, is happy, and adores his two children. When the club closed for two months, he was told by a relative that there’s a doctor who is looking for a driver. But when he comes to the Music Hall in New York, he finds out that it’s a classical pianist, Dr. Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who’s there to offer him a job if the man agrees to stay two months apart from his family.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Tony believes in one thing – “Whatever you do, do 100%. When you laugh, you laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.” Dr. Shirley is much more philosophical about his belief and at some point, tells Tony, “You never win with violence. The only time you win, when you use your dignity. And the dignity always prevails.” And now imagine what hell of a relationship you’re about to witness when two different worlds collide to create a friendship of a lifetime.

Of course, during the road trip, a lot will happen. Dr. Shirley will face racism, Tony will lose his patience. But whatever happens, both men will do their best to stay on track, so Tony can get home by Christmas eve. But the most charming part is when Tony begins writing letters to his wife, Dr. Shirley chooses to interfere to lighten the context a bit as a token of appreciation the man has towards its driver.

Overall, “Green Book” is a movie that’s worth talking about, loving and never stop watching. The performances are so good that there’s no way it could’ve gotten better than this. The chemistry shared between Mortensen and Ali is so adorable that it will make you wish there were more movies with them as lead cast. The movie manages to send the most important message to the audience – that no matter what happens, heart and love is the most important thing. Friendship and appreciation are what leads to success. Hate and racism never goes any further. And if it did, it brings nothing but heartbreak. And Oleg, who’s part of Dr. Shirley Trio said to Tony, “Genius is not enough. It takes courage to change people’s heart.” I am sure “Green Book” is the right medicine to be used to cure any heart from loneliness, bring hope, and make everyone smile and love a bit more than we all do right now.

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