Green Book really is something special. Despite the devastating ideas and events that the movie focuses on, it remains accessible and fun to watch. It has a story and pace that could easily be a bore, but Viggo Mortenson and Mahershala Ali, along with a fantastic script, make it compelling and surprisingly funny. The story structure and beats are familiar, but the way that they are executed is very sophisticated and unique. The films portrayal of racism is especially interesting and subtle. There are the people who will beat and torment black people, but there are also the people who just give them side looks and wash their hands after interacting with them. The wide spectrum of racism shown is much more powerful than if it was always at an extreme. It makes it feel inescapable, and it gives us as much of an idea as we can of the mental torture that black people went through in the 60’s. It balances this out with the often laugh out loud interactions shared between the two stars. Be it KFC, poetry, or stealing rocks, the conversations are always engaging, and some lines have stuck with me even weeks after seeing it. (A particular scene in the rain is one of the best scenes I’ve seen this year.) Sometimes the more mundane scenes make the pace of the film a bit of a mess, but all conversations pay off by the end.
This is one of my shorter reviews, but I don’t have much to say about it. It’s a movie that you just need to let wash over you. It is the feel-good movie of the year, and I think it will be endlessly rewatchable. Green Book is a perfect movie for a family night near the holidays.
I give Green Book an A-.