Green Book: taking a fresh look at difference
Green Book, winner of the 2019 Oscar for Best Picture, is a gem of a road movie. The film tells the story of a trip that doubles as a sort of rite-of-passage for two gripping characters, who learn to tame their demons by leaning on each other and switching between the traditional roles of master and apprentice as the miles slip by.
I was immediately struck by the very honest and moving way in which the two central characters were treated. I didn’t think twice about jumping into the Cadillac alongside Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as he drove Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) through the Deep South of the US in the 1960s, a time and place rife with racial discrimination.
The film, which is based on real-life events, is above all a buddy movie. It focuses on two opposing personalities who are forced to spend eight weeks together as Don (a virtuoso pianist) embarks on a concert tour, and how the trip will change their lives forever.
The differences between Tony and Don obviously create tensions between them as they travel together, but as they gradually build a rapport, these two individuals begin to not only admire and respect each other deeply but also to complement and enrich one another. They learn to make allowances for their weaknesses through mutual support, and both become more genuine, more balanced and happier human beings.
Green Book, which could be described as a reverse Driving Miss Daisy, won three Oscars out of five nominations: well–deserved recognition.
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