Green Book: Powerful Portrayal Of An Inspirational Journey Promoting Courage, Activism And Always Doing What’s Right

Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist who’s about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “I absolutely give the film 5 out of 5 stars for its powerful portrayal of an inspirational journey that promotes courage, activism and always doing what’s right in the world…This movie contains a massively wide range of emotions. At times, the story is driven by love, romance and family. At other times, the characters live in racism, homophobia and segregation as it directly addresses and shows the darkness of the 60s in the United States. ” See his full review below.

Green Book
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Sometimes being alone means not being accepted. A fact that some have attempted to convey in the art of cinema, but only a few reach the precision and emotional strength of Green Book which shows not only the complex and dark social issues of the 1960s but also demonstrates the power and emotion of feeling truly alone.

This movie contains a massively wide range of emotions. At times, the story is driven by love, romance and family. At other times, the characters live in racism, homophobia and segregation as it directly addresses and shows the darkness of the 60s in the United States. Yet still, the viewer will be surprised by the amount of humor and wonderfully vibrant moments that are portrayed. They will make you laugh in all the right places, without interrupting truly emotional moments.

Taking place in the 1960s, Green Book follows the highly famous and incredibly successful pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who takes great risks as an African American man touring through the highly racial deep south. Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) accompanies Shirley going from his driver to savior to eventually, his close friend. As the tour progresses, the audience goes through many parts of the south where not only racism was prevalent against African Americans and Italians, but also acknowledge the severe homophobia that existed so terribly in the 1960s.

Green Book follows the highly famous and incredibly successful pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who takes great risks as an African American man touring through the highly racial deep south. Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) accompanies Shirley going from his driver to savior to eventually, his close friend. As the tour progresses, the audience goes through many parts of the south where not only racism was prevalent against African Americans and Italians, but also acknowledge the severe homophobia that existed so terribly in the 1960s.

Perhaps one of the most lovable aspects of this movie can be attributed to the story itself. Every person in the film has a major character arc in which they become completely reshaped and remolded by the end. The entire cast performs with Oscar-worthy emotional portrayals of their characters. Mahershala once again delivers absolutely heart-wrenching scenes as the audience becomes acquainted with the lonesome and depressed life Don Shirley lives in, despite being unarguably talented and highly intelligent. The complexities in the set design, costume design, and overall tone of the entire world never run out of depth as the entire film feels as if it truly belongs in the 1960s, despite being shot nearly half a century later. Director Peter Farrelly may be seasoned in humoristic comedies, but makes sure his background stays separate for this film.  With his lead, the audience experiences bitter reality and, with the help of cinematographer Sean Porter, view a vivid and colorful picture of United States in the 1960s, from up north in New York all the way to down south in Alabama.

Cinema about musicians would be blasphemy without an impressive soundtrack to follow suit. From music considered modern and pop for that era, to classical pieces hundreds of years old, Green Book promises a highly wide and diverse soundtrack that highlights itself as one of the greatest this year. Furthermore, the music tells the story as it begins with 1960s music, but slowly goes more and more towards classical and orchestral as the story unfolds and the viewer learns more about the conflicts of pianist Don Shirley. Furthermore, despite being over two hours long, the film keeps you captivated for the entire runtime and leaves you satisfied with a natural and beautiful ending.

Instead of a favorite scene, I would like to talk about several sequences present in the film. Since they’re on tour, of course, Shirley and his fellow musicians in his trio are shown playing music. Yet, this varies in emotion, strength and passion as real-life events impact Don Shirley’s craft just as the events impact his actual character. The power of his work never dwindles and always leaves you in awe. During the performance scenes, every aspect of the film shines with absolutely masterful cinematographic compositions that seem to isolate the musicians and truly captures the raw emotions such powerful music creates.

Photos by Universal Pictures - ©2018 Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved
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