I can watch this film again and again. Though it’s a feel good film that narrates the story of friendship between two men, an African American Pianist, Don Shirley and his driver back then, Tony Vallelonga, it also walks you through the horrors of racism that Don Shirly faced in America even after being a renowned pianist who played even in the White House in the 60s.
That’s the summary of Green Book but what actually unfolds in the movie is way more beautiful than you will read in this post. This true story is about how Don Shirley and Tony Lip bonded during a eight-week road trip they took for the pianist’s concert. While Tony was looking for a new short-term employment opportunity as the restaurant he worked in shuts down for a renovation, Don Shirley was looking for a driver who would without causing any trouble take him to the concerts and then bring him back home safely after the tour ends.
Don Shirley lives life king-size when he is home but he steps out, he is nothing more than a black guy to the Americans. On the stage, he might be the king, but right after he steps off, the treatment he gets isn’t humane. From not allowing him to eat at the restaurant to giving him kind-of-a-storage room to change and also, not letting him use the washroom the Americans use when attending a concert – the facilities this supposed to be VIP gets just because he is not white, breaks your heart. The untouchability that was practised back then, no matter in which country you are and to which race and religion you belong is disturbing to watch.
Green Book is still a feel-good film and that’s its USP. Tony Lip, who later becomes Don Shirley’s only companion and safety cover is also shown to be against the black before he meets the pianist. Once they develop a bond and he actually sees what these people go through only because they are not white, his perception towards human beings changes. As a result, he becomes more human and sensitive towards other beings.
The loveliest scenes between the two were when Dr Shirley starts teaching Tony how to write romantic letters to his wife, Dolores Vallelonga. How the love between them deepens after these new love letters that Dolores receives from her husband while he is away is heart-warming. What completes the picture is the last scene where Dolores meets Dr Shirley and gives him the warmest hug knowing that it’s him behind this change in his husband. It’s an unsaid moment of gratitude between the two that instantly melts your heart.
Green Book is full of such moments: tear-jerking and heartwarming. It makes you think about the people that surround you and the way this world functions yet you believe in the goodness of human beings and the power that love and friendship has to change this world for better.
Make sure this film makes it to your watchlist and the next movie you watch is none other than Green Book.
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