9 reasons you still need to watch ‘Green Book’

Although the excitement and controversy of “Green Book” winning the Oscar for Best Motion Picture is long over, this stunning film will leave you speechless and completely full of thoughts at the same time. It is a must-see even though the hype is long over.

The Oscar-winning film follows the true story of upcoming pianist Dr. Donald Shirley and his newly hired driver Frank Valalanga. The two roadtrip through the country for Shirley’s piano tour.

Valalanga, a white working class father whose personal views of African Americans mirror those of most white people in the 60s, learns the harsh reality of the seemingly never-ending challenges Dr. Shirley faces as a black man trying to prove his skin color has nothing to do with his talent and intellect.

If you haven’t yet seen this award-winner, you need to – and here are nine reasons why.


Considered ‘Best Picture’

Unless you are a movie critic, the likelihood of seeing all of the nominated movies at the Oscars is very slim.

Although no one can watch all of these movies, everyone should make an effort to see the winning movie for Best Picture to understand what the Academy views as one of the best films in the past year.

While the cinematic processes, central themes, and acting are all taken into consideration for Best Picture, Green Book’s two gifted main actors, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, made the filmmaking look easy and the central themes shine through.


Controversial reaction to Oscar

There has been a significant amount of controversy of whether this film deserved Best Picture.

Many sources are calling it a “white savior” movie where a black man’s struggles are used to cure a racist mindset.

Spike Lee even almost walked out of the room when Best Picture was announced, feeling that his BlacKkKlansman was a much more deserving and representative film centered on racism.

Green Book fans argue that it is rather a heartwarming film with no background meaning to the story of friendship.

Despite the controversy, it is necessary to see how the themes and portrayal of the friendship could be perceived from two completely different points of view.


The ‘green book’ is a real thing

Historically speaking, one of the biggest takeaways from this movie is the physical green book, written in 1936 by Victor Green.

In the Jim Crow age, violence and hate grew among white people, specifically in the South. This furthered the need for a travel guide for minority groups.

Knowing the extent minorities had to go through just to travel for work or with their families is a crucial aspect to understanding this film.



Reaction from real-life character’s family

The family of main character Don Shirley was upset for many reasons including the lack of mentioning his name in the Best Picture acceptance.

His family also mentioned many inaccuracies including where Dr. Shirley performed, his lack of family, and his classical training.

He was a child prodigy, but he couldn’t be a classical pianist because of the color of his skin,” said a Shirley family member.



The music

Taking the politics away from the film, the music is absolutely something that everyone can appreciate about Green Book.

Main character “Vally” encourages Dr. Shirley to play more upbeat music, but throughout the film really starts to appreciate the classical music Dr. Shirley plays.



Relationship between the two main characters

Although the tension is real in the beginning of the film, Dr. Shirley and Vally really do create a strong friendship.

The two bond over teaching each other about music, poetry, food and more.



Reality of racism in America

Racism  is very much alive and well in America, but the violence portrayed in Green Book mimics the hate crimes we still see today.

Vally, the chauffeur, learns about the true hardships blacks face through seeing Dr. Shirley’s suffrage first- hand. 

Through slick side comments, physical barriers and physical abuse, racism is the most central theme in this film.



Contrasts in backgrounds of characters

Although the family of Dr. Shirley may say differently, Vally seemed to have a huge family while Dr. Shirley seemed to have no one.

Their backgrounds clearly differ because of the color of their skin, and they are able to bond by teaching each other about their differences once they got over their judgments.


The conversations afterward

One of the most important takeaways from Green Book is the conversation you will have after no matter who you went with.

In today’s world, communication about the racism, discrimination, and outright hate are important to have in hope of making a more open space for people to share their stories.

Whether Green Book deserves the praise it’s getting, it creates yet another story with central themes of hate, love, friendship and growth that is beyond worth your time.

by Sheryl-Leigh General

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