Green Book (2018) 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

The moving and funny Green Book chronicles the unlikely friendship of two men from different cultural backgrounds and prejudices through a trip into the Deep South in the 1960s.

Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) has a decent life as a bouncer in a club. He also is an unapologetic racist, something his long-suffering wife laments whenever he attempts to toss out a glass used by a "Negro" serviceman. Which makes him an unlikely choice to ferry around the rich classical pianist Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali)... but "Doc" needs protection where he's going, and Tony knows how to provide it. At first, Tony says no. Then money talks.

As Tony drives the snobbish Doc around to his various musical engagements, he finds his passenger a bit pretentious. Out of touch with the music of "his people." Rather insistent on not leaving trash on the road. At first, Tony doesn't like him. Doc doesn't much care for him, either. And then, an extraordinary friendship unfolds in a blue car along miles of deserted road. After all, there's nothing quite like landing in jail together.

I had not seen much about this film prior to renting it, and knew nothing about the story except it was based on actual events. It does a good job of showing the bone-curdling racism of the period, a time when "the Green Book" was a driving manual that listed all the places "coloreds" could spend the night. It's one of the better scripts I've seen, each scene leading to an eventual pay off. It wastes nothing, either using the moment for character development or to lead into a later reversal to show how much these men have changed. It's also surprisingly funny and poignant. Seeing a rough mafia guy softening toward a snooty elitist is fun. And, I have to admit, the final few minutes made me tear up a bit. I do like a happy ending.

Sexual Content:
Naked or nearly so (no visible nudity) Shirley and another man are shown handcuffed to some pipes; the police say they caught them in "intimate activity." Tony uses crude language to talk about his desire to visit a certain place, because women's breasts grow bigger there.
Two f-words, two dozen uses of s**t. Lots of general swearing, and racial slurs. 15 uses of GD, and 5 abuses of Jesus' name.
Men rough up Shirley at a bar; Tony punches a policeman in the face, and throws people out into the street at a bar during his job as a bouncer; he punches various other people.

Lots of drinking from both parties. Smoking. Racist attitudes.

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