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Subtitled: Green Book

Peter Farrelly

Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber) may seem an unlikely choice to direct a crowd-pleasing prestige picture about race relations in 1960s America, but many critics agree he has produced a real awards contender, already scooping the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.

"A trip very much worth taking."

Set in 1962, Green Book (named after the guidebook which advised people of colour on establishments in which they’d be welcome in America) tells the story of African-American pianist Don Shirley (Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali) and his racist ItalianAmerican driver and bodyguard Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) as they embark on a tour of the Deep South in the 1960s. The set-up is a classic odd-couple road trip as the two men clash almost immediately; Shirley is sophisticated and wellspoken, while Tony is rude, unafraid of violence and quick to temper. As they spend more time together, however, Tony’s prejudices are broken down and the two men come to recognise and appreciate each other.

Green Book is based on stories told by Tony to his son Nick Vallelonga (co-writer of this film) and consequently the film has drawn some criticism for its dramatisation of events and the factual accuracy of its portrayal. As Oscar season approaches, it will be interesting to see if these factors affect its chances come February. There is no denying, however, that Ali and Mortensen are two intelligent performers at the top of their game and their chemistry, as well as Farrelly’s light, humorous touch, makes this a trip very much worth taking.