An unlikely friendship grows in the Jim Crow South.
Oscar season must be here, said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. Clearly “built to flatter white audiences,” the new road-trip dramedy starring Viggo Mortensen and Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali is the sort of crowd-pleaser that “hammers on your heart even as it’s tripping over its feet.” Mortensen plays an Italian-American schmo hired to drive and protect a genteel Jamaican jazz pianist during a 1962 concert tour through the segregated South. Named after a guidebook black Americans relied on to travel safely during the Jim Crow era, the movie is well-intentioned, but “it works better the less you think about it.” Predictably, the story focuses on how Mortensen’s Tony Vallelonga overcomes his casual racism, said Inkoo Kang in Slate.com. It’s fun watching Mortensen ham it up, and as the odd couple bickers and jokes, “the verbal sparring crackles.” Still, a movie focused on Ali’s brilliant, closeted gay sophisticate would have been more interesting. At least Tony isn’t presented as having been magically redeemed, said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. “The great success of Green Book lies in its modesty, and the straightforward way it recognizes seismic change in the incremental turning of a human heart.” ■