Green Book (2018)
In a racial flip of Driving Miss Daisy, nearly 30 years after that film won an OSCAR for Best Picture, Green Book (itself the 2018 Best Picture winner) features a white bouncer, Tony Lip, (Viggo Mortensen, The Road, Captain Fantastic) serving as a chauffeur — and valet, and muscle, and all-around problem solver — to a black concert pianist about to embark on a national tour (Mahershala Ali, Moonlight, House of Cards). It’s pure formula, of course. Two men of different races from polar opposite backgrounds with wildly contrasting personalities get thrown together under unusual circumstances. They learn from each other, change each other for the better and discover that — guess what? — they’re not so different after all. But Green Book transcends mere formula. It takes place while the two men are driving across the American South during 1962, so it contains multiple formulas at once. It’s the mismatched-buddy road trip movie, with a message about hope and understanding in a period of political and ideological division. As an added bonus, it also happens to have been inspired by a true story.
Green Book is the kind of old-fashioned filmmaking big studios just don’t offer anymore. It’s glossy and zippy, gliding along the surface of deeply emotional, complex issues for long enough to put together a fun and comfortable viewing experience, while dipping down into them just enough to give the viewer some real substance. And that dexterity in both realms comes almost completely from its starring performances from Mortensen and Ali. Both actors imbue their roles with precision and pathos. They find nuance within their familiar types individually and share a spirited chemistry with each other. They are a joy to watch together from start to finish, and Green Book is exactly the kind of movie that deserves and requires that level of virtuosic performance to pull off.
This special screening is part of our Annual Members Reception event. Admission is FREE for Member and a guest; all other tickets are $10.