Green Book [2018] ★★★½

Simply put, “Green Book” is one of the best movies of the year. It celebrates friendship and family in a way that feels irresistible, thanks to a clever script, and, above all, a pair of terrific performances by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. They’re both a marvel, and watching them inhabit their characters brought me (and the audience around me) so much joy. We’re in 1962 New York and Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Mortensen) is an Italian-American  looking for a job to support his family. Enter Mahershala Ali’s brilliant pianist Don Shirley, who is looking for a driver to accompany him on a tour of the South. The two have nothing in common, but they’re about to embark on an unexpected journey together. And we’re right there with them in that car, as they travel from town to town. I know what you want to ask: is “Green Book” a comedy or a drama? Like life, it’s both. Director Peter Farrelly (yes, the same man behind “Dumb and Dumber”, “There’s Something About Mary” and other comedies) takes his precious time. And it pays off. This is a movie to bring home and live with, to keep talking about it after it hits you in the heart. It’s damn near perfect, starting with the acting. Both actors deserve Oscar nods for their beautifully nuanced performances. There’s not an ounce of bullshit in them. Same goes for the movie. I can’t remember the last time I felt the need to laugh and cry at the same time during a film. “Green Book” will do that to you, and I cannot recommend it enough. I’ll watch it again just to savor those amazing performances.

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