Green Book

Green Book

2018, PG-13, 130 min. Directed by Peter Farrelly. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, Don Stark.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Wed., Nov. 21, 2018

Two terrific performances and the interplay between the two actors – Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen – are the reasons to see Green Book. Their pas de deux is a master class in acting, and the twosome’s give and take provides good company for the road trip that comprises the heart of this narrative. So rich are their performances that their display helps to detract from the film’s predictability and easy resolution of ingrained prejudice.

Green Book (the title coming from the “Negro Motorists Guide” which listed places that would rent to people of color who were on the road) is a historic piece set in 1962, and is based on the experiences of the classically trained pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), who is touring his professional trio through the Deep South and being driven from gig to gig by temporarily laid-off Copacabana bouncer Tony Vallelonga (Mortensen). Don is a cultured artiste and Tony is a prejudiced goombah, whose practical needs (Don for protection and Tony for extra income) and natural antipathy turns to mutual admiration and friendship over the course of their journey. There are kernels of truth in their dramatic arcs in which social and racial prejudices are erased by active proximity. However, more than seeming like a reversely cast Driving Dr. Shirley, Green Book is more likely to remind the viewer of an Odd Couple reunion. Don and Tony bicker like a persnickety Felix and earthy Oscar.

Green Book is directed by Peter Farrelly, and co-written with him by Brian Hayes Currie and Nick Vallelonga, whose tales about his father’s time driving for Don Shirley forms the basis of this film. This film might seem like a stretch for those who only associate Farrelly’s name with raunchy films like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. Yet pay close attention to the films Farrelly’s not only written, directed, and produced (usually with his brother Bobby) and you’ll find a soft, mushy center full of love for its defenseless and unfairly abused characters, whether they are mentally challenged ( … Mary, The Ringer), overweight (Shallow Hal), a conjoined twin (Stuck on You), or dimwits (Dumb and Dumber, The Three Stooges). Few of his plots could fully play out in the real world, thus Green Book’s historical specificity is unusual. If prejudice were as easy to resolve as in this movie’s 1962 example, its presence would be virtually unknown in our present day. Still, movies can also exist to inspire and offer prototypes for the future, even if their basic tenets exceed the currently possible. The film’s appeal to audiences is demonstrated by its win of the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at September’s Toronto International Film Festival. Additionally, time passes quickly in this rearview road trip in which the marvelous interaction between Ali and Mortensen provides the forward locomotion.

Showtimes

Wed., Feb. 20

1:05, 10:50

Thu., Feb. 21

1:15, 11:10

Fri., Feb. 22

12:30, 6:50

Sat., Feb. 23

12:15, 6:50

Sun., Feb. 24

12:45, 7:50

Mon., Feb. 25

12:30, 6:50

Tue., Feb. 26

AFA 12:25

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Feb. 20

6:45

Thu., Feb. 21

3:40

Wed., Feb. 20

10:50

Thu., Feb. 21

7:55

Sat., Feb. 23

4:10

Sun., Feb. 24

3:45

Mon., Feb. 25

3:25

Tue., Feb. 26

3:30

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Fri., Feb. 22

12:35

Sat., Feb. 23

12:20

Sun., Feb. 24

12:15

Mon., Feb. 25

6:00

Tue., Feb. 26

6:00

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Wed., Feb. 20

CC/DVS 7:00

Thu., Feb. 21

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:00, 6:20, 9:20

Fri., Feb. 22

CC/DVS 10:00

Sat., Feb. 23

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:20

Sun., Feb. 24

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:20

Mon., Feb. 25

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:20

Tue., Feb. 26

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:20

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Wed., Feb. 20

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:20, 6:30

Sat., Feb. 23

11:00am

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sat., Feb. 23

digital 7:00

Sun., Feb. 24

digital 1:00

Wed., Feb. 20

digital 10:35

Sat., Feb. 23

digital 7:00

Sun., Feb. 24

digital 1:00

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sat., Feb. 23

digital 7:00

Sun., Feb. 24

digital 1:00

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Wed., Feb. 20

1:05, 4:10, 7:05, 10:05

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Wed., Feb. 20

11:45am, 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Thu., Feb. 21

11:45am, 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Fri., Feb. 22

4:35

Sat., Feb. 23

4:35

Sun., Feb. 24

4:35

Mon., Feb. 25

4:45

Tue., Feb. 26

4:45

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Wed., Feb. 20

12:10, 3:35, 10:20

Thu., Feb. 21

1:10, 4:35

Fri., Feb. 22

1:10, 4:35, 8:00, 9:35

Sat., Feb. 23

1:10, 4:35, 8:00, 9:35

Sun., Feb. 24

1:10, 4:35, 8:00, 9:35

Mon., Feb. 25

1:10, 4:35, 8:00, 9:35

Tue., Feb. 26

1:10, 4:35, 8:00, 9:35

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Wed., Feb. 20

2:30, 8:10

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Wed., Feb. 20

10:00

Thu., Feb. 21

12:30, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Feb. 20

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Thu., Feb. 21

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Peter Farrelly Films
Dumb and Dumber To
They're ba-ack!!!

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 21, 2014

Movie 43
This raunchy collection of short films drew A-list talent behind and in front of the camera.

Kimberley Jones, Feb. 1, 2013

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Isn’t It Romantic
Another entry in the bizarre "head trauma leads to female empowerment" rom-com genre

Feb. 15, 2019

2019 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Animation
The Academy's five favorite animated shorts, plus two ringers

Feb. 8, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Green Book, Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, Don Stark

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle