Green Book is the newest film from director Peter Farrelly, but it is much more serious than his other movies. It made a big splash after its debut at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. The film follows an Italian-American club bouncer who is hired by a world-class African-American pianist to drive him on a performance tour across the Deep South in the 1960’s.
If this movie doesn’t have the makings of a massive sleeper hit, what does? The best of both crowd-pleasing entertainment and upscale cinema combines, which is even more surprising given that it was made by the guy who made Dumb and Dumber. It is refreshing to watch a film that is both highly enjoyable and intelligently handles social issues.
It would be hard not to find this movie entertaining. There is a perfect balance of heart and humor, with a result that is endlessly compelling. This film will easily resonate with multiple groups of people, as they identify with one of the two leads or, more likely, aspects of both. The movie also contains many comedic moments that had the audience rolling in laughter.
That being said, the script also contains quite a bit of hard-hitting commentary. The premise definitely allows for some interesting discussions to be brought up in the film revolving around racism, prejudice, and hate in general. The commentary may have been direct and obvious, but it is still very important and well-meaning. Even though the story is set in the 1960’s, it is scary how relevant it still is today.
The performances are also absolutely phenomenal. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali both light up the screen in their roles. Mortensen is hilarious and charismatic from beginning to end, with sharp delivery and humanity. Ali is playing the more serious of the two characters, but he also has some very funny moments. His emotion is top-notch, though, and absolutely sells the film. Linda Cardellini does well in her supporting role, too.
The execution is great too. The cinematography is very strong throughout, but the opening scene particularly stood out as one of the best-shot sequences of the year. The editing is also good, with the montages feeling surprisingly natural. The strongest part, though, is the movie’s use of music. The soundtrack is excellent, comprised of multiple classical songs.
Overall, Green Book is a wonderful film. Although it does feel somewhat surface-level at times, it is very well-made and entertaining. You definitely won’t want to miss this one.
Green Book is now playing in select theaters and opens everywhere November 21.