Book Review New York Times

“hi. i’m pete farrelly, co-writerand director of “green book.” “green book” is the storyof don shirley, a concert pianist played by mahershalaali, who, in 1962, had to go on a tour of the south. he hired a bouncer, tony lip,played by viggo mortensen here, to drive him. this is a scene early on inthe movie when they stopped to get a pack of cigarettes.

and tony lip gets out, findsa jade stone on the ground, but it’s next to wherethey’re selling gemstones. obviously somebodydropped it there. he puts it in his pocket. thinks, well, it’son the ground. i can have it. and is accused of stealingit by the other band members. the point of this sceneis — it’s a true story, by the way — that it’ssomething that tony lip told

us — we had audiotapes oftony lip telling stories about dr. shirleytrying to teach him. he said, you know,i love that man — dr. shirley — andthe reason i do is because he was alwaystrying to make me smart.” “before we pull out, tony,we need to have a talk.” “eh?” “oleg told me what you did.”

“what’d i do?” “you stole a jadestone from the store.” “no, i didn’t.” “he watched you do it.” “i didn’t steal no stone.” “you picked it up andput it in your pocket.” “i picked up a rockoff o’ the ground. i didn’t steal from a box.” “now, why would you pickup a rock off the ground?”

“i don’t know. because it ain’t stealing. it’s just a regular rock.” “and why would youwant a regular rock?” “to have. for luck, maybe.” “a lucky rock?” “yeah.” “let me see it.”

“the thing that reallycomes through here is a parent-childrelationship is forming. dr. shirley is educated. tony lip’s — sixthgrade education, but really didn’t payattention after third grade.” “take it back and pay for it.” “and he’s beingschooled by dr. shirley. dr. shirley — if he’s gonnabe spending a couple of months with him, he’strying to help him

in the way he talks, the wayhe speaks, the way he treats people, the way he acts.” “do not drive,mr. vallelonga.” “it helps that dr.shirley’s in control when he doesn’t get out. he doesn’t do anything. he sits there. and tony has to turnto him, and tony has to stretcharound him, and he’s

just such a child inthis scene, the way he reacts to everything. it’s like if you caughta five-year-old stealing gum at the grocery store. that’s how he reacts. i liked viggo havingto turn toward him, and it just felt likehe was at a disadvantage in that scene. and it helpedempower dr. shirley

that he could just sitback and control it.” “if you’d like, tony, i’dhappily buy you the stone.” “don’t bother. you took all thefun out of it.”

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