Character’s Evolution On Race Issues Lets ‘Green Book’ Shine

By Jakaylah Redmond

Isola, MISS.

“Green Book” follows the story of Dr. Donald Shirley and Tony Lip. The movie begins with Lip working at the Copacabana nightclub when it closes for renovation, putting Lip out of work. Lip finds creative ways to make money in order to sup- port his family until he gets an interview with Shirley, an African American pianist who is looking for a driver for his tour throughout the Midwest and Deep South. Lip, who is white, refuses to do certain jobs for Shirley and will only agree to be his driver. After Shirley receives approval from Lip’s wife, Dolores, the two begin an eight-week tour. Lip and Shirley don’t get along at first because of Lip’s ignorance and lack of manners. But Lip becomes Shirley’s bodyguard on the tour and helps him out of difficult situations that occur due to racism.

The major strength of “Green Book” lies in how the characters evolve over time. In the beginning of the movie you see how racist Lip is toward black people. His family makes derogatory comments about black people, and so does Lip. When two black men come over to work in his apartment, his wife gives the men a glass of water. Lip sees this and waits until the men and his wife leave to throw the glasses in the garbage. When I watched that scene, I thought he was a very ignorant man and I didn’t like him despite his charm. His racism toward African Americans really bothered me.

But over time, Lip changes. Going on the road with Shirley really alters his view of African Americans. At the end of the movie, you see Lip defending Shirley to his family for the first time by saying, “Don’t talk about him like that,” after someone calls Shirley a derogatory word. His wife smiles and rests her hands on his hand, indicating that she is proud of his growth as a person.

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