THE REEL: 'Green Book' unravels an unlikely bromance in 1960s US
- I enjoyed watching the unlikely pairing of Tony and Dr. Shirley from their first meeting in the driver interview, and it is quite clear that they are from two different worlds.
- Dr. Shirley is regal, intimidating even, he conducts the entire interview while seated on an actual throne, which was breath-taking to see.
- Tony on the other hand, comes from the nightclub scene, where he is a bouncer cum manager and is used to roughing guests up when they get out of hand.
- Do you have feedback on this article? E-mail:
I finally watched Green Book and I loved it. There has been a lot of controversy since the Oscars in February this year, that in all sincerity, I watched it expecting to hate it but I ended up loving it as my spontaneous bursts of laughter can attest.
It is the simple story of two men from very different backgrounds on the road for a period of two months. During that time, they develop a friendship that is beautiful to witness and it becomes a lifelong bromance. What can I say, I fell for the movie hard.
Green Book stars Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), who will forever be my king after he played the ruggedly handsome Aragorn, King of Gondor, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahersala Ali), he who can never do wrong in anything he stars in. The latter is a piano prodigy who heads a musical trio and decides to make a travelling tour of the American Deep South in the 1960s and goes in search of a driver, and this is how the two eventually pair up.
Green Book is rated PG-13 and is 2h 10min long. It is categorised as a biography, comedy and drama. Movies that are Oscar contenders tend to be long and it gives the story time to unpack as much detail as possible, and it’s always a beauty to behold.
I enjoyed watching the unlikely pairing of Tony and Dr. Shirley from their first meeting in the driver interview, and it is quite clear that they are from two different worlds. Dr. Shirley is regal, intimidating even, he conducts the entire interview while seated on an actual throne, which was breath-taking to see. Tony on the other hand, comes from the nightclub scene, where he is a bouncer cum manager and is used to roughing guests up when they get out of hand.
The movie is set in the 1960s and this was at the height of racism and Jim Crow laws, which were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States and governed when and how blacks were to conduct themselves.
Armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America's racial segregation, the two come face to face with the poor and sorry state of the hotels available to blacks.
The differences in upbringing and exposure are glaring between Dr. Shirley and Tony but if there is something being on the road together forces them to do, is to tolerate each other.
The two begin to rub off on one another, with Tony’s great love of food proving to be the ice breaker between the two, and we begin to see the tentative first steps of their budding friendship as they become just two ordinary guys on the road.
The movie showcases the different types of landscapes that the drive takes them through in the different States.
One scene stood out: they got a puncture and as Tony is repairing it, Dr. Shirley steps out of the car to catch a breather. What he doesn’t know at first, is that he has stopped beside a sharecroppers farm that is being worked on by slaves who stop what they are doing and stare at one another. The black farmers are in disbelief and for Dr. Shirley, it’s the realisation and appreciation of the different status that he enjoys. This was a defining moment in the film.
Witnessing the portrayal of the cultivation of the powerful bond of friendship is very moving as empathy is what breaks barriers; the ability to step into another person’s shoes and really understand what it means to be them.
Controversy aside, the movie brings to a new audience a wonderful and compelling true story about a daring friendship in a time when such were outlawed. It teaches quite powerfully about the innate humanity present in each one of us and its ability to overcome hate and prejudice if it is allowed to prevail. Give Green Book a chance, you will be the better for having done so.
Do you have feedback on this article? E-mail: