Review: Ali and Mortensen bring the ’60s to life in Peter Farrelly’s ‘Green Book’

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Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” takes on the “based on a true story” tale of two unlikely friends.

(Video courtesy of Universal Pictures on YouTube.)

“Green Book” is a classic story about two people overcoming the racism of their time to become friends. These stories, while heartwarming, always come with a bit of controversy. Some critics have called the film a “white savior” movie. And while it does fit some of the tropes of a typical “white savior” film, it translates more as a feel-good movie about friendship and brotherhood.

Tony Lip (Vigo Mortensen), a down on his luck Italian-American Copacabana employee is in need of a new job. One of his friends suggests he interview for a driving job for Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a black man.

The cast truly shines and Ali and Mortensen take on the roles of Shirley and Lip with great ease, despite the months of preparation they both put into the film. In spite of the tension their characters had during most of the film, Ali and Mortensen became very close friends during the filming process, which you can see in their red carpet appearances.

Mortensen and Ali clearly take center stage, but the hidden gem of the film was Sebastian Maniscalco. The comedian-turned-actor shines as Tony’s ball busting, tough guy brother, Johnny. If you’d like to see Maniscalco outside of his role as Johnny—check out his comedy specials on Netflix.

Green Book has already won the Golden Globe for:

  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Mahershala Ali

The BAFTA for:

  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Film

And the SAG Award for:

  • Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Mahershala Ali

Green Book is nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Original Screenplay and Best Achievement in Film Editing at Sunday night’s 91st Academy Awards.

Ali is the front-runner to win Best Supporting Actor this Sunday, potentially making this his second Oscar win in that same category after 2016’s “Moonlight.”

Verdict: 8.5/10

I left the movie with a warm feeling in my heart. I think the performances by Ali and Mortensen were refreshing and will make it hard for the Academy to make some decisions.