Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

January 2019

Green Book (PG-13)

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Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Starring: Viggo Mortensen
November 2018


Warning! This is NOT a movie review. This is a critique of the film. Intended to initiate a dialogue, the following analysis explores various aspects of the film and may contain spoilers. Views are my own and elaborate on comments that were originally tweeted in real time from the back row of a movie theater
@BackRoweReviews. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. Ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!


Inspired by a true account,
Green Book tells the story of an Italian driver (Viggo Mortensen) and a black piano player (Mahershala Ali), who embark on a concert tour to the Deep South in the 60s. Book is a poignant snapshot of the attitudes and mores of the period in focus. It’s also a road trip/buddy film that deals with racism in powerful, yet unexpected ways. The image of a white man driving around a black man makes many people stop and gawk; this role reversal stands out as one of the movie’s more ironic elements. Book has some magical moments, like: the chicken bone toss, lucky rock, confession in the rain and Christmas dinner scenes. The movie’s production is sensational, especially its period appropriate coifs, costumes and cars. Book also boasts tremendous acting from its two top-tier stars. Mortensen (virtually unidentifiable from his role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings films) and Ali (Moonlight) deliver extraordinary performances that should garner Oscar attention. Though Book is a tad idealistic, it contains a powerful central theme: namely, that reconciliation can win out over racism when people from different cultures choose to see things from the other’s perspective. Equal parts humorous and bittersweet, Book never sermonizes as it spotlights this less enlightened period of U.S. history. As a kicker, Book features one of the most heartwarming resolutions in recent film history.