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Review Green Book (2018): Whether this is true or not the message is truth.

genre: drama, comedy, biography

Already after having seen the trailer I knew I was going to like this feelgood film. The story might not be new. But how it was told combined with the excellent performances made it a real joy. In my opinion the Oscars were well deserved. 

Green Book for some reason seems shrouded in some controversy concerning something Viggo Mortensen had said and that according to Shirley's family a lot of the film is full of lies. This is a little disconcerting but this wouldn't be the first time Hollywood has taken dramatic liberties. However in this case it worked out just fine since it does have a beautiful message. Of course the film oversimplifies things. That is to be expected. But in all earnesty we people tend to overthink stuff too much. The film advocates that spending time with someone could spark change into someone's attitude or perspective on life. And I agree. Getting to know someone, getting to see what someone of colour has to go through can affect and change your own ideas. Life can be very simple like that. Then the so called racial slur in a discussion about racism and the use of the N word. I mean if you can't even use the word in a discussion about it then there is something really wrong. Words only get so powerful if you give them that power. By acting like the word itself should never be uttered again even when discussing it is completely ludicrous. The whole context it was stated in wasn't meant to offend. People know very well when a word is offensive and when not. To act like the word is offensive at all times is just ignorance. 

Apart from whether the story is true or not it does have it's heart in the right place. I can't tell you how relieved I am for a film not to be overly dark and cynical. That has been done to death. It's time for a change of tune and some optimism. The fact that the family of Don Shirley aren't happy with the film and say it's full of lies doesn't change the fact that Don Shirley himself had appointed his friends as his heirs. That says a lot about how he felt about them. So for them to speak out against the film carries little weight. Until they come with proof that states otherwise. It would be a little outrageous had the story been invented. But my first question would be? Why? What reason does the son of Tony Vallelonga have to make this up? Fame and fortune? If I were super cynical and skeptic then perhaps I would come to that conclusion. But seeing how Green Book was pretty adamant in showing Tony Vallelonga as a quite flawed person and Don Shirley as a scholar and intellectual that had brought enlightenment to him in very significant ways. He is not a white savior. Because you will find out that both characters save each other. Or actually it's Don Shirley saving Nick's soul more than anything. 

Honestly forget the so called controversies and just go in with an open mind. From start to finish the film is a real blast. I laughed more than I cried. Now that I think of it I didn't cry up until the very end because of the simple but very beautiful way it ended. Both Mortensen and Ali give this film that something extra only good actors can. 


OscarJewerly said...

Don Shirley himself

chrichtonsworld.com said...

Don Shirley himself what? Could you elaborate?

OscarJewerly said...

His music is peculiar, a jazz performer with a strong character plus it suits this for movies where men with steel character.




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