Don Shirley is a gifted jazz pianist and composer. Wealthy, successful, refined, elegant, and charming. He strides with the powerful and wealthy crowd, and provides us with a gifted entrance into his life through his talent. However rewind to 1950’s America. Despite his talent and wealth, he is still at a disadvantage. Why? He is black. Still, he decides to embark on a piano concert tour through the deep south. First step, he endeavors to hire a driver. Enter Tony Lip. An Italian-American bouncer at a New York nightclub with a wise-cracking street-smart attitude. Together the two embark on a journey that brings them together in a strong bonded friendship for life. Don teaches Tony about the gentle, poetic and artistic life and Tony give Don a taste of street smarts….and fried chicken.
This is the story told in Green Book directed by Peter Farrelly. Farrelly is best known as one of the Farrelly brothers, most noted for their work in There’s something about Mary and the Dumb and Dumber franchises. This new insightful comedy drama is a huge diversion for Farrelly, but promises to hit home hard. The film stars powerhouse Mahershala Ali, solid Viggo Mortensen, and the criminally underused Linda Cardellini.
This film is unique in its subversive nature. The tired trope of a duo involving a black man that teaches a rich white person the way of the streets is reversed. We see two men working together to understand each other and to overcome race and prejudice in their own ways, while learning from each other. Watch the trailer, because it is too beautiful a film for my meager words to even remotely do it justice.