Green Book (2018) – A True Friendship

Movie material comes from inspiration. Whether fiction or based on true stories, movies always have a special attraction for the audience. Usually, there are so many meanings and messages we can learn when watching a movie. “Green Book” at first glance might be another Oscar-bait movie. In fact, this film slips Alfonso CuarĂ³n’sRoma” as the Best Picture for the Oscars 2019. Now, this story of comedic friendship becomes a worthy list. This film, in general, took the concept of racism as a white and black man. Yet, it comes with an unusual relationship. They understand each other, try to change their views better, and realize that they make no difference in the end.

This film by Peter Farrelly is the story of friendship. They are Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen). Shirley is a famous pianist from Jamaica. Tony is a nightclub bouncer. This story begins with the doctor who needs a driver to his concert tour. Tony immediately accepted the job relate to his club he works on in-renovated.

“Green Book” set in the 60s where two people driving across the American South. I think typical buddy road trip movies are the usual formula. However, this movie contains about race relations, a prejudice on racial views, and a glimmer of hope and joy. The two people have reciprocal backgrounds and characters. Even so, they have one common goal. Don Shirley is a kind person and calm. He is also an educated person who became a famous pianist. Behind that, he felt deep solitude where he didn’t feel happy. Besides people praise him, he still feels discrimination as a black person. For him, being a genius is still not enough because it’s very difficult to change the views of others.

On the other hand, there is Tony Lip. He is a father with a violent background. Because of that, his life made him a figure who was reckless, rude, wild, and racist. Initially, he didn’t want to accept the job of serving black people for two months. However, he wanted to accept it in order to support his family. Tony Lip is a good father and really loves his wife, Dolores (Linda Cardellini), very much. In fact, his friends didn’t even believe because he himself was very disrespectful towards black people.

The title itself, “Green Book”, comes from a guide route book for black people. Only with it, their journey through the Deep South becomes the beginning and end. Its process of recognition influences each other where it is not uncommon to cause conflict. Apart from that, this film managed to bring the atmosphere of America in the 60s very well. Starting from the set of locations, properties, to the costume design, it’s so much detail. Its characteristics also don’t mean to overdo on so that it sounds so natural.

I watch a lot of movies that took the issue of racism, especially the long history of blacks and whites in America. “Green Book,” in addition to its concept, written in a natural way. This film memorably comedy but could not be separated from the issue of racism. Farrelly displays racial discrimination against blacks thickly. Various rules that they must obey. They can’t eat with white people. In addition, they may not use public facilities. It was also highlighted in the chemistry of both protagonists. Its character developments feel like we are sitting in the back seat of a car. Shirley should maintain her dignity for the sake of his race. On the other hand, Tony Lip experienced a dilemma about whether to defend his own ideology, right, or fight.

From its subject matter, “Green Book” was then packed better with a light and humorous storyline. The character of Tony Lip whose talk trash is so interesting. He wanted to understand black people starting from arguing about the taste of KFC or maybe about Little Richard. Its nature is not too boring, the film is full of melancholy and bright. Kris Bowers’ score as well provides freshness for classical music. Unpredictable, this film made it into five nominations and won three categories at the Golden Globe 2019. The award was Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture, and Best Performance by Mahershala Ali. This is also the second Oscar award from Mahershala Ali after “Moonlight“.

Meanwhile, “Green Book” received five nominations at the 2019 Oscar. Among the five nominations, the film received Best Motion Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Performance by Ali. The awards were also evidenced by the mesmerizing appearance of the neat duo actor. Mortensen and Ali brought two real characters in this subject matters movie. Mortensen as Tony Lip is able to last as a driver of a black man. On the other hand, Ali as Don Shirley can maintain his dignity in the midst of a hard-stance on him. A film based on a true story also tends to be predictable. However, this film is well-packed and quite interesting.

This movie offers many surprises in every detail. In my opinion, I’m not too concerned with one of the scenes. The scene is where Ali suddenly gets out of the car in the rain. It’s a nice speech but too obvious. Other things didn’t bother me too much. But, I just don’t understand why “Roma” didn’t win Best Picture. “Green Book” explores in such a way the details and is executed properly. Another help from Ali’s body double is so stunning. A transformation from a two-person story that is more than just dialogue. Race, identity, and racism, it’s from the journey to home sweet home.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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