Universal Pictures | Release Date: November 16, 2018
Generally favorable reviews based on 485 Ratings
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pdw123Dec 24, 2018
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I don't understand all the fawning here in the user reviews, since those are notoriously always more honest, minus the trolls who often don't even see the film or give it 0's without giving constructive reviews----but I think this is being way overrated and for AA marks as well. While the 2 leads are indeed outstanding actors and have been in the past, that just doesn't make up for the timid and craven story structure in a time period and place that from what we've viewed before for Academy consideration---Selma, 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, etc.---was just far from a peaceful place where this protagonist only gets roughed up once, and is so cursory a scene related to the "Odd Couple" type film, that you don't even notice it, nor trials/tribulations that this character just must've had to endure in that time period. It just doesn't convince me of the true story or reality, nor does the acting in many instances, sadly. That, and mainstream theaters in this USA are getting to be a crowded pain with new recliner seating that has pushed ticket prices through the roof, and made films just plain hard anymore to get out and see. Perhaps the DVD will offer more explanations for these obvious shortcomings---just didn't cut it for this viewer, truly hoped it were better, but alas probably mostly because of the direction/production. Expand
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AJGo85Feb 27, 2019
“The world's full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.”

Green Book checks all the boxes of an Oscar bait movie: period setting (1960’s), based on a true story (but maybe not that true), respected/award winning actors (Viggo
“The world's full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.”

Green Book checks all the boxes of an Oscar bait movie: period setting (1960’s), based on a true story (but maybe not that true), respected/award winning actors (Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali), a name director (Peter Farrelly), deals with race (segregation in the American South), characters from different backgrounds learning from and about each other (but they’re so different!). Specifically,Green Book is about the friendship that arises between Tony Vallelonga, a white nightclub bouncer from the Bronx, and Dr. Don Shirley, a black classical pianist from Midtown Manhattan, when Tony becomes Don’s driver and bodyguard on a tour through the Jim Crow South in the 1960’s. Their friendship could make an interesting story but the approach taken by co-screenwriter Nick Vallelonga (Tony’s real-life son) and director Peter Farrelly is so familiar as to be dull beyond belief.

Tony Vallelonga, or Tony “Lip” to his friends, is played by Viggo Mortensen in what is without a doubt his showiest performance. Typically, his performances are so subtle and without ostentatiousness (even when he is playing a Russian gangster or the devil), that he disappears into his character and never draws attention to himself. This is not the case with this working class, unsophisticated, loud, tough guy bigot. Mortensen hits every note required by his role; there’s just not a lot to his character. Still, in the tradition of nominating great actors for their most mediocre roles, the Academy has nominated Mortensen for Best Actor.

The same goes for Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley. There should be a lot for his character to work with: being an educated, sophisticated, and successful black musician playing high profile venues and exclusive parties in the Jim Crow South. He is ostensibly the guest of honor at the private parties of wealthy high society people but they will not let him use their bathroom. He should be the lead character and we should feel his inner struggles and emotions beyond him just trying to remain dignified. Instead, Dr. Shirley is a reserved, private, and lonely person which is a pretty good excuse for a white screenwriter to not have to get into the head of a black character. All that is required of Don Shirley is to be serious, refined, dignified, and, most of all, be unamused by Tony’s shenanigans. Ali won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Moonlight, and he is nominated for Supporting Actor again, but, as with Viggo, this is nowhere near his best work. Ali delivers what his underwritten role requires, but having an actor like him play this part is like having his character play chopsticks.

Green Book gets its title from the real-life travel guide published for black motorists during segregation so they could find a restaurant, gas station, or hotel that would accept them without trouble. This book is barely used in the movie. You would expect it to play a larger part since it is what the movie is named after. Green Book presents itself as a story about race and class, but really it is a mismatched buddy road trip movie. The problem is that is not good at being either. Will the laid back, sloppy guy and the serious, neat guy drive each other crazy? I'll admit I laughed at some of the gags and jokes, but the punchlines are not original.

Mortensen and Ali work well together but there’s not enough to make their characters or their relationship feel like something you haven’t seen a dozen times before in other movies that deal with race and friendship. This is a just a recital not trying to be anything new. By the time Tony and Don are racing back to New York to make it home in time for Christmas dinner I had gone giddy from an overdose of clichés. Will Green Book make you feel good and provide two hours of inoffensive, unchallenging entertainment? Maybe, but when you can predict every beat and every scene what’s the point of watching? There are high quality actors, costumes, and production design but ultimately Green Book is nothing more than a big budget Hallmark Channel Hall of Fame movie.
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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ManorJun 19, 2019
Great idea, bad execution.
Just another predicted movie from the us.
The real story really touched me and that's the only reason to give this movie 1/100
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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hnestlyontheslyOct 7, 2019
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is poison. Its main problem is while its story deadens your soul, you feel good watching, because Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen have such electric chemistry. As Wife puts it, the film posits that racism is something that an eight week road trip can resolve.

The geographic chronology of this film suggests that the country becomes more racist the farther south you go, when what is clear to anyone in the know, is that racist institutions exist in large and subtle ways in every corner of the country. Wife says that Dr Shirley addresses that point after the bar scene when he asks Tony if it would’ve gone any different at a bar in his neighborhood in New York, but it’s clear that otherwise confusingly banal scenes of #notallwhitecops helping Tony and Shirley on their ride home in the snow are meant to signal something unnecessary and facile about the forces of inclusion and progressivism in the country. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s book Everybody Lies talks about how Big Data show racial animosity is not a North-South divide so much as an East-West of the Mississippi divide (if memory serves).

There’s a fair bit of soap-boxing, self-congratulatory progressive liberalism, back-dated to 1962–what Wife called the “simpering” morality of one of Dr Shirley’s musician friends who eulogizes his “bravery”. The deepest the two ever get in discussing racial politics is during a fight toward the end of the film, when Tony accuses Shirley of not being black enough, which triggers a powerful cut scene back to the trailer that brought audiences in the first place, but doesn’t push the ball much further down the field. Dr Shirley calls Tony a moron again and they wisely agree to disagree, rather than dragging themselves into a nasty discussion about institutional racism and white privilege. There are a lot of straw man arguments that the script, in part written by family of the protagonists, sets up to avoid any real reckoning with racism, and they’ve been more thoughtfully lampooned everywhere months ago.

Most interesting thing I thought Wife said about this film was that it was missing a Winter Sequence. There weren’t really any stakes to the film, no conflict to prompt action, change, or growth from our main characters. The lack of a winter sequence is what makes the film a feel-good film, but that also sucks the air out of the script and makes it feel a little brain dead.

Every good actor is allotted a certain number of bad movies. There’s nothing wrong with this story being told, necessarily. It’s just not that it’s an especially insightful or needed story and it might actually be kind of actively hostile to the goals it seems like it’s striving towards.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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YorkManFeb 6, 2019
It's hard to review this movie....

On one hand it's a well crafted, well directed, well scored, well acted movie with great cinematography and a fairly compelling narrative.... On the other hand it's a very well documented moment in time in
It's hard to review this movie....

On one hand it's a well crafted, well directed, well scored, well acted movie with great cinematography and a fairly compelling narrative....
On the other hand it's a very well documented moment in time in which is recreated in an incredibly watered down, rose-tinted glasses kind of way, almost to the point of it being more of a 'how it should have been', rather than recreating the real-life tale it is apparently based on.

Why is this....?

Because the film has been made to receive the 'family-friendly' PG-13/12A rating, and this destroys the film as any kind of accurate representation of what really happened during this extended road trip through the Deep South.

It's impossible to relate the power of the story, the characters and their development, the abuse and racial hatred, outright bigotry, and social injustices..
Nor is it possible to show everyone smoking, the casual sexism, any enjoyment of alcohol... And Heaven forfend any adults in film use strong profanity or derogatory racial slang!!

It's meaningless to offer movie-goers something so diluted and bland.. And it's no wonder we've created a generation that IS offended at the very idea of what society was like, to the point that the vast majority of people who have (and will) see(n) this film will believe that it is an accurate representation of the time/places it is set.
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ABRJun 2, 2019
This is a very hyperhyped stuff. Just a buddy road movie, Viggo is the only good thing about it. Ali is the same in every movie, that's called the Idris Elba acting school.
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