“Green Book” has been well liked overall by critics, strong with audiences, and is touted as an awards contender. That said, there’s also a growing backlash against the film which began with a misplaced word spoken at a Q&A and has now rolled into questions over its accuracy and condescending feel-good tone which is very much aimed at pleasing white audiences.
The ‘true story’ tale follows Italian-American driver Tony Lip and renowned African-American musician Dr. Don Shirley, who venture on a trip through the Deep South during the early 1960s – a time when outspoken racism was still very much the norm even in polite societal circles.
Now the family of Dr. Don Shirley have stepped forward saying the Peter Farrelly-directed film is not remotely close to reality. The film’s writer Nick Vallelonga, son of the real-life Tony Lip, reportedly never once consulted with Dr. Shirley’s living relatives to help create the character for the film.
Shirley’s nephew Edwin Shirley III tells Shadow and Act that Shirley’s character, shown to be torn up about his race, is just not accurate as Shirley was friends with Civil Rights activists and celebrities from Dr. Martin Luther King to Duke Ellington to Nina Simone.
In addition, the film says the musician was exiled from his family and had little-to-no contact with his one brother. In reality? He reportedly had three living brothers with whom he was always in contact. Don’s last living brother, Dr. Maurice Shirley, dubs the film a “symphony of lies” and says the lifelong friendship that is the heart of the film isn’t true. He adds Dr. Don Shirley would have been upset that the film exists as he straight up refused to allow the film to be made decades ago.
The nephew Edwin Shirley III adds that actor Mahershala Ali previously called him and apologises for the way he portrays their relative: “I got a call from Mahershala Ali, a very, very respectful phone call, from him personally. He called me and my Uncle Maurice in which he apologized profusely if there had been any offense. What he said was, ‘If I have offended you, I am so, so terribly sorry. I did the best I could with the material I had. I was not aware that there were close relatives with whom I could have consulted to add some nuance to the character.'”
“Green Book” has so far pulled in $24.8 million domestically from a $23 million budget.
Source: The Playlist