By The Closet Conservative
GO SEE THIS MOVIE! That’s about the best and most brief review I can give The Green Book. In the genre of historical dramas, where good overcomes bad, this feel-good movie for the holiday season will put a smile on your face and give you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel for what modern day pop culture refers to as “race relations”.
One could argue from both the Right and Left, that this movie shows one of two things: How much progress the Civil Rights movement has made for blacks, OR, a pessimist might argue that not only is there a long way to go, but that there has been regress in the advancement of blacks place in modern society. I always look through the lens of life with the glass as half full, so I see the good and hope in the movie, rather than the bleak view of “See how racist the south is, and it’s even worse today with our current President”. (Sorry race baiters, it’s not worse…this movie only goes to demonstrate what one could NOT get away with today…)
The short description of this movie is as such: It’s 1962. Our protagonist, Tony Lip, played by Viggo Mortenson, is a 1st generation Italian American, blue collar worker in New York who is not so much a racist as he is an ignorant-narrow minded man of his time and culture. Although he is working on the up and up, there are clearly opportunities for him to join the world of organized crime. Yet, he wants to keep his nose clean, and due to his tough nature, is hired by a wealthy black musician, Doctor Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali to be his driver. I’ll spare the details as to why and how this happens, for it is much of the charm and heart of the movie that is revealed little by little as the movie develops.
The movie is a throwback to times when one ethnic group could slander the other ethnic group, and not be hung out to dry by the modern day social warriors. Tony, the Italian driver at one time or another in the movie offends with racial slurs, or stereotypes just about every minority. Yet, it’s done so fairly, evenly, matter of factly, that it’s hard to be offended, for he is equally offensive to all. At the same time, while he’s offending those minorities he has no trouble in interacting with them and befriending them. The movie is as funny, as it is warm when these interactions take place. Both Dr. Shirley and Tony learn and teach lessons to each other along the way. Each begins the movie, surely looking down on the other, yet during their 6-week road trip together their pre conceived perceptions slowly melt away.
The further Tony drives Dr. Shirley into the south, the more challenging it becomes in their dealings with the public, Jim Crow laws, and police. You kind of know were the story will go, but there are enough pleasant surprises along the way, and the end is schmaltzy enough that it’s hard not to come away smiling.
Take a racist relative to see his movie… take a race bating liberal to this movie… take a close minded friend to this movie…. Take a Black Lives Matter member to see this movie… it’s hard to imagine any of them not walking away with a warm fuzzy feeling about humanity.