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Green Book: Award Winning Movie And Biggest Controversy

I watched “Green Book” after I saw that the film was nominated in so many categories from best actor to best editing during the Oscars. The film is based on a heartwarming story about an Italian-American bouncer, Tony Vallelonga, who becomes unlikely friends with a Jamaican-American pianist, Don Shirley, while taking on the job of Don’s driver during his cross country tour. At the beginning of the movie, Tony is depicted as a character who had his reservations about African American people as the film is set in 1962 where racial segregation was still a big issue. As the film progresses, you see Tony start to understand the wrongings of racism as he witnesses the discrimination Don faced in the south. The duo becomes friends as Tony helps Don accept and embrace his roots, and Don helps Tony lead a more morally stimulating life. I won’t spoil what happens in the end, but the friendship sheds a light on how racism can end with education. 

In the grand scheme of things, the movie appears to be an amazing story between a white Italian New Yorker and a sophisticated African American musician, however, the movie only shows another story of a white man showing an African American the stereotypes he’s meant to fulfill, saving his life every step of the way. To add to the controversy of the film, the evidence of racism from the writer, Nick Villelonga, against Muslims was resurfaced on Twitter. 

Additionally, Don Shirley’s family came out with a statement addressing the untrue information the movie depicted of Shirley’s life. The movie showed Don Shirley as a man who was estranged from his black family and black background and needed Tony Vallelonga to show him his roots. 

To make matters even worse, Viggo Mortenson used racial slurs during a press interview

“Green Book” may have been an amazing film to the audiences who fail to see the misconstructed message. With the controversy of the film, this opens up more conversation of how award shows may be supporting this type of action. 

Photo Credit: 12

Hannah Zhang is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Economics and on the pre-med track. She has a deep love for Frank Ocean, flaming hot cheetos, and food. She enjoys Dad jokes and a good read!
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