Green Book tells the story of Don Shirley, portrayed by Mahershala Ali, a jazz pianist, taking a tour throughout the deep south in the 1960s. Being African-American, Shirley hires an Italian-American bouncer named Tony Lip, played by Viggo Mortensen. Lip’s purpose was to manage their time on the tour as well as drive Shirley.
Lip and Shirley’s time together grew into years of friendship. Prior to working with the well-known pianist, Lip was known to use racial slurs and participate in other discriminatory acts. However, while on the tour to white-only venues, he witnessed horrifying acts against Shirley first hand. While taking on Jim Crow’s south, Lip fought against this discrimination in a variety of ways. He either beat the person or bribed them as a way to protect Shirley.
The title of the film comes from a guidebook for traveling African Americans called The Negro Motorist Green Book, which is most commonly referred to as simply the Green Book. The book came out annually and was used to help motorists who may face descrimination.
According to New Now Next, the film portrays a queer sex scene between the pianist and a white man. After being caught in the act, Lip bribes another in order to shield the growing career of the musician. When later confronting the situation, Lip says he understands that show business is complicated, being around it for years.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 24, 2018
What comes as a surprise is Lip’s reaction. He is calm and content when they discuss what had occurred, but most of all he is understanding of it.
The two men toured with one another for over a year. Later, Lip began his acting career after meeting the director of The Godfather. He then got roles in other films such as Dog Day Afternoon and Goodfellas. His most recognizable role is in The Sopranos.
Green Book is now being shown in theaters, and it offers another insight to the racial and sexual bigotry that still happens today.
Photo courtesy of Facebook