Parents' Guide to

Green Book

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Crowd-pleasing drama explores race, class, friendship.

Movie PG-13 2018 130 minutes
Green Book Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 15+

The review for "Sex, Romance & Nudity" is technically correct but intentionally misleading.

The review for "Sex, Romance & Nudity" is technically correct but intentionally misleading. "A married couple hugs and kisses. Two people who were engaging in sexual activity are shown after the fact, naked but curled up so that no sensitive body parts are shown." The two people are the main musician and a random guy that were caught having homosexual sex in public at the YMCA showers and were being arrested. "Common Sense" would dictate that this be pointed out, so people can make an informed and rational decision before showing this to their kids, church or school.
age 18+

I searched this site to check on bad language. Apparently, common sense media doesn't think that using God's name in vain qualifies as language. There is no sense in all that!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (39 ):

Mortensen and Ali both give fabulous performances in this feel-good road-trip drama that's part buddy comedy, part history lesson, and part social commentary on friendship and race. Director Peter Farrelly, best known for raunchy comedies like There's Something About Mary, brings out the humor in Tony and Dr. Shirley's interactions; he allows the actors to shine in completely opposing ways. Mortensen, who reportedly gained more than 30 pounds for the role, immerses himself in showy Bronx bravado, while Ali is a picture of nuanced restraint, with plenty of emotion simmering beneath the surface. Both portrayals are award-worthy, as are Ali's musical performances (he went through extensive piano training to pull them off).

It's not easy to revisit a time in history when gifted black artists could entertain all-white crowds but not sit or dine among them -- or even use the same bathroom. Dr. Shirley refuses to lower himself via vulgarity or even by listening to popular music (he can't tell Aretha Franklin from Chubby Checker), and he fully understands that the moment he steps off stage, he's just another black man to the white audiences who moments earlier applauded his talent. While Tony isn't in the role of the dreaded "white savior," Green Book's story is more about him than Dr. Shirley, who's infinitely more self-aware -- and also more of a mystery. It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity that Dr. Shirley's personal life isn't explored via more than a couple of references to his estranged brother and a failed marriage and one poignant monologue about not fitting into either white or black society. Especially considering that viewers meet nearly all of Tony's large Italian family, including his more open-minded wife, Dolores (Linda Cardellini), to whom he writes (with help from Dr. Shirley) increasingly poetic love letters from the road. Really, the entire movie is a love letter of sorts -- to a friendship that's a reminder that the world needs more empathy and human connection ... not to mention mind-blowing music.

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