2019 Film Reviews – 18: Green Book [dir. Peter Farrelly; 2018]

I relented. Having read several pieces of convincingly damning criticism of this tale of an Italian-American racist’s journey to open-mindedness – following a stint as a chauffeur and bodyguard to an acclaimed, black musician – I decided my pennies would be better spent on other cinematic fare. But then came that Best Picture Oscar and I felt duty bound to see the thing for myself. I can now confirm that it is as undeserving of its awards as many have claimed. With an approach that is almost bizarrely patronising (mind you, it clearly worked on some people) Peter Farrelly takes his story from one scarcely-believable ‘development’ to another, all in the name of pushing nostalgia buttons and over-egging the feel-good pudding. Yes, the performances are solid, the settings, interiors and costumes display a postcard charm and the music helps maintain an energetic pace. But it’s impossible to ignore the fact that by the time this particular trip reaches the end of the road, it has been little more than a simplistic jaunt into territories whose complexity cannot be avoided.
Dariush

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