There’s a lot that’s been said about how Black people are depicted in the media and in life overall. There’s no mistake that it’s been a wild ride for Black people in North America, but slowly, there has been progression (even if it appears minuscule) in terms of how the treatment of Black people across all fronts have improved. Race relations will forever be an ongoing issue, and from the highest earners in Forbes to the everyday person who has to get by through the government’s welfare program, the common link is that Black people will always be placed in a particular box that won’t be seen as simply human, but either the best of the best or the worst of the worst.
On the other side, we’ve seen the radical behaviour that White people have exposed more of, during the era of Trump we live in. Racism isn’t new, a ‘post-racial’ world is not a real thing, and the tension between the two races is still pressing and has grown in such a way where White Supremacy has been blatantly revealed to the general public, and the majority of the world says “oh well.” That’s not to say that change hasn’t come, but it has yet to make a significant dent in the iceberg, because of the decades spent where it was just the norm for White people to sit atop the rest of the crowd. It’s a learned behaviour that has been passed down by generation to perceive others not like them to be less than human and some form of disease. That’s where The Green Book comes to light and brings two worlds far apart into a closed space on the open road.
If there’s one thing that I learned a lot about this year, it’s friendship. I know that they form in the most unique & unlikely situations, and can last years filled with happiness & turbulence, or fade into an abyss out of simple growth apart. I’ve had my fair share of the experience in 2018, and this movie was a great example of how a friendship during a tumultuous time in history can bring 2 vastly different individuals together and bond them for decades. Mahershala Ali & Viggo Mortensen made a fantastic pairing, where you have a roughneck Italian from the Bronx, and a stoic, elegant, mild-mannered, yet emotionally damaged, successful Black man who embark on a concert tour in 1962 through the Midwest & Deep South – that’s not exactly smooth sailing (or driving, rather).
The Green Book is something I had learned of a couple of years back, and it was what was able to keep Black people in the South alive, because the guide helped let them know where they could and couldn’t go. Some towns were labeled as ‘Sundown Towns,’ meaning they weren’t safe for Black people after sunset. No matter how non-violent the movie may be, whenever there’s a movie based in a period where the blatant racism is put forth on screen, I find myself feeling angry that Black people had to live like that in the first place, and that a man like Dr. Don Shirley (played by Mahershala), who has so much acclaim to his name, could still just be ‘one of them,’ although he didn’t exemplify what it was to ‘be Black’ in the 60s.
The movie made a point in showing the ugly of Tony Lip (Mortensen) especially a scene early in the movie where two Black men are working in his home and the Men in his family were chaperoning his wife and hurling racial insults in Italian (the only spoiler, I swear). That was their reality, and when it came to the opportunity to face his prejudice and racism by embarking on this journey, he learned a lot more about himself and his counterpart, which is the foundation of friendship – learning, which (hopefully) leads to growth.
From when I saw the trailer, I knew I was going to enjoy it, and 2 hours of watching later, that’s exactly that. There are ugly moments, ones that are poignant, a lot of humour, and really feel good pieces as well that highlighted the dynamics of their personalities and just how they were able to function as a pairing. It’s a movie that I would highly recommend watching, and I await to see what kind of Oscar buzz it receives as we get into film awards season. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review,
That’s My Word & It STiXX