Green Book: Driving Don Shirley

Green Book is a comedy drama buddy film directed by Peter Farrelly based on the real-life friendship of jazz pianist Don Shirley (here played by Mahershala Ali), and bouncer Tony Lip (here played by Viggo Mortenson). The film covers their initial meeting, and how through a tour of the American South the two bonded and effected each other’s lives.

Best picture winner? No. Good film? Yes. So, I went into this film expecting it to be very, very good considering the awards it has won and it is good there is no doubt about it, but it is not Best Picture good.

My main issue with this film is that it is often a bit too overly sentimental. Emotion within film is a fine thing, there are times when this film gets its emotional tone just right and the scenes feel weighty and important without feeling overdone, but there are also times when the emotional beats are just a little too much, a little forced and in those instances they feel cringey.

The friendship between these two characters is the crux of the film, and in that regard I can say that this film is a smashing success. Both Done Shirly and Tony Lip feel like well rounded and fleshed out characters, and the friendship between the two feels explored and nuanced; it is nice and heart warming to see this friendship feel like it is organically growing over the course of the film rather than feel forced.

Mortenson and Ali are both terrific and both have many dramatic scenes were they shine, and also a few comedic ones too, though Ali steals the show in those.  

Overall, a nice heart-warming film that reminds you of the power of humanity and friendship, though it should not have won Best Picture.


The friendship

The characters

The emotional journey

Good heart and a few laughs


Sometimes feels a bit too overly sentimental


Reviewed by Luke     

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