Sunday Movie Review – Green Book – Best Picture 2019

Today’s Sunday Movie Review is for Best Picture – Oscar winning movie Green Book. As many of my readers here know, besides the books I prefer to read for light entertainment and escape, my favorite books and movies all have the components of the human spirit and condition based story lines. This is a factual based story of classical American jazz pianist, Dr. Don Shirley on his roadtrip tour with a most unlikely character – Italian, mob-like Tony the Lip as his hired driver who drives Shirley around on tour in the deep south in 1962, at a time where blacks were being segregated. After watching this movie, it’s isn’t difficult to see why it won for best picture.


Story line: – As written by

Story line

In 1962, Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, a tough bouncer, is looking for work when his nightclub is closed for renovations. The most promising offer turns out to be the driver for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley for a concert tour into the Deep South states. Although hardly enthused at working for a black man, Tony accepts the job and they begin their trek armed with The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for safe travel through America’s racial segregation. Together, the snobbishly erudite pianist and the crudely practical bouncer can barely get along with their clashing attitudes to life and ideals. However, as the disparate pair witness and endure America’s appalling injustices on the road, they find a newfound respect for each other’s talents and start to face them together. In doing so, they would nurture a friendship and understanding that would change both their lives.



My 5 Star Review:

New York city, 1962, the Copa nightclub where Tony Lip’s job as ‘bouncer’ comes to a halt because of renovations to the club, leaving him looking for odd jobs to fill in his time and paycheck until the renovations are finished. At the same time, Afro-American classical  pianist,  Dr. Don Shirley is in search of a driver who can safely drive him throughout the deep south for his road tour.

Tony, as we are first introduced to him would seem the most unlikely character Shirley would pick for the task, but ultimately, Tony becomes the best pick Shirley could have hoped for as demonstrated through the story line. Tony is given the ‘Green Book’ to help him navigate the journey, which includes maps and offers ‘places to stay for black people’ while traveling.

Tony’s low-class, loud mouthed, uncultured, racketeering persona is very off-putting for esteemed Dr. Shirley, yet, as the movie progresses, the two form a bond of friendship, and a learning and acceptance for one another’s plight in life. Tony’s terrible use of language and mobster styled behavior eventually brings the snobbish Doc down a few pegs after spending much time alone together, and after realizing that it was those very unbecoming features of his driver that would help save the life of the good doctor.

As their friendship grows and Tony is faced with defending Doc many times through the journey – getting him out of a lot of racist jams, Tony also learns to appreciate the music of the prodigy doctor. A wonderful movie about friendship and loyalty despite the ugliness of racism.


The story behind the story:

The movie was written by ‘Tony the Lip’s’ son, Nick Vallelonga, who was 5 years old at the time Tony set out for his first tour with Shirley. When he returned and shared many of the road stories about some of the terrible things they encountered on the road of racism, young Nick vowed to make a movie about it someday – and he did. Dr. Shirley made him promise that he wouldn’t share the story publicly until he would die. Shirley died in 2013. You can read more about this true story of blind faith and friendship here, from the Smithsonianmag.


© D.G. Kaye and, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye






38 thoughts on “Sunday Movie Review – Green Book – Best Picture 2019

  1. Loved this film too Debby.. thank you for reminding me and we must watch again.. the acting was fabulous.. we seem to be watching quite a few movies based on true stories recently and perhaps because of that they are all excellent. ♥


  2. Strangely enough Sam recommended this one to me a few months back. He saw it whilst travelling on a plane to the US earlier this year. I haven’t got around to seeing it yet, but certainly will now!


    1. Fab Carol. Glad I reinforced your decision to watch. Let me know what you thought after you watch! Sheesh! I pulled you out of spam! Lol Get out of the dumpster woman! 🙂 xxxx


  3. Imagine, they needed a handbook on where to travel safely- that’s so wrong! The sad thing is racism hasn’t disappeared 😦
    Great review, Debby. I’ll definitely give this a watch.


    1. Yes, pretty damned sad it is. And obviously, many haven’t learned anything from past errors. You won’t be disappointed (other than the subject matter). Hugs xx


  4. I really enjoyed this movie, too. I watched it when it came to the movie channel. So, it wasn’t one I went out to the theatre for but I was pleasantly surprised. It was an impressive story and so well done. Great review choice, Deb.


  5. I watched this movie a while back, with my mother, and we both loved it, although not, evidently the situation it reflects. Wonderful performances and it does highlight that ignorance and not stopping to question the values of those around us can make us complicit in dreadful situations. Thanks for the reminder, Debby.


  6. This movie sounds very interesting, Debby. I won’t watch it as I haven’t watched a movie in over two years, but I do like to read about good ones.


  7. Hi, Debby! An excellent review, my friend. I recently saw this movie, and enjoyed much more than I thought I would. Although some parts were sad and others funny, overall, I thought it was a heartwarming story about a friendship that defied prejudice. ❤


    1. Absolutely Vashti. Succinct description. I too have difficulties watching violence and injustice, but it’s the relationship to me that was the story. ❤


  8. Great review, Debby. My Mum gifted me this film and we watched it together. We loved it and I will be watching it again. A beautiful study of friendship and life’s serendipity. It reminded me of apartheid in South Africa. All beyond comprehension, yet we must seek to understand how far off track we can go. Huge hugs to you, my unicorn buddy. ❤ Xxx ❤


    1. Hi Jane! What a lovely gift. Yes, so much to take from this movie – besides the prejudice in the storyline, it is a fun romp of friendship and loyalty, and definitely the kind of movie you can watch more than once. Hugs flowing back to you my Lovely. ❤ xoxo


  9. Great review, Debby! I totally agree with your take on this movie as I thoroughly enjoyed watching it as well at some point in 2019. It doesn’t happen often I rate a movie (or book) five stars, but this one wins! 🙂 Interesting about the back story; I had no idea. And I wonder why Dr. Shirley didn’t want to be around anymore when the movie would be made and released. I hope he at least got to read the script…


    1. So true Liesbet. I’ll tell you why I think he may not have wanted it done while he lived. As the movie depicted in one scene – he was gay! Gay back in the early 60s wasn’t accepted socially. That could be why. Great movie! 🙂


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