First of all, this should certainly get a nomination for picture of the year. It’s terrific, and both Vigo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali deserve acting awards. Secondly, this is a true story, and so very timely with the resurgence of racism and all sorts of prejudice in our culture. It is set in 1962 basically in the South, and sadly we white Southerners (and other Americans too) have not made nearly enough progress since then in regard to the sin called racism. Thirdly, this movie is both a buddy movie and a road movie. If you like those sorts of films you will like this one. Indeed, though the film is 2 hours and 14 minutes long, by the end I was wishing for more. Fourthly, the Green Book was a book put together by Victor Hugo Green for persons on the road, listing hotels and restaurants etc where they could stay and eat. It was a guide book specifically for African Americans in the 1950s and the 1960s.
True stories are often the very best stories, and this is one them. For me, one of the most poignant moments in the film was when Shirley was standing in the rain and said ‘if I’m not cultured and white enough to be white, and not black enough to be black, and not man enough to be a man….. then what am I?’. There are many many humorous moments in this film, and also many moving and disturbing moments in the movie as well. Racism is but one form of human fallenness and self-centered thinking and this film deals with it in helpful ways.
By the end of the film the two lead characters have learned about their own prejudices as well as those of others, and learned how courage and persistence is better than violence as a way of dealing with prejudice. They have also become good friends, and in real life they remained friends until they died within months of each other in 2013.