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The Ugly Truth Script

Vallelonga still has tapes of his father recounting incidents he ended up including in the script. It should be no wonder, then, that Mortensen had a decisive leg up when it came to fleshing out his character. He had the audio tapes of my father, video of my father. But by all accounts, Mahershala Ali had no such real-life contact with Dr. This disparity has its advantages for a skilled actor like Ali; by relying only on vague clues, Ali could reimagine the character through his own performance.

Which is, for the record, beautiful: his Shirley is monied, erudite, and slickly sophisticated, with a sly sucking-in that make his cheekbones sharp with superiority. Despite being a black man in the 60s, Shirley, as Ali plays him, has no qualms about his social status. When staying at a black-friendly motel, he holds himself apart from other blacks, wearing his fine clothing and turning up his nose.

Perhaps most outlandishly, Dr. Really, the problem is more specific: Tony Lip drew an impression of Dr. Shirley for his friends and family, and in the making of Green Book, no one seemed to question whether those impressions were honest.

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Then the film came out—and the Shirley camp began to speak up. In November, Maurice Shirley, Dr. For one thing, Maurice said, Dr. Shirley was not cut off from his family. At the very least, his brother said, he never would have let a white man egg him into eating it. As the movie rightly knows and attempts to dismiss with good humor and a playful wink, loving fried chicken is a black stereotype. As the film also knows and harps on, Dr. Shirley was a man of strict social propriety. Eating the chicken to overcome racial friction in that teal Cadillac makes for a good story, but it severely undercuts the politics of respectability that Shirley otherwise, and much more interestingly, goes out of his way to embody.


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The most telling counterclaim of them all: Tony Lip and Dr. Shirley were not friends. This is why context and nuance are so important.

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The fact that a successful, well-to-do Black artist would employ domestics that did NOT look like him, should not be lost in translation. But the debate over the truth of Green Book fascinates me because of all of the unquestioned assumptions—and the presumptions—undertaken by Farrelly and crew in their design of Dr. Everyone seems to agree that Tony Lip had a, shall we say, limited view of black Americans before meeting Shirley. Italians lived with Italians. The Irish lived with the Irish. African-Americans lived with African-Americans. Though unreliable on its face, this understanding becomes our lens into the history of this specific black man.

He refused to be called a jazz musician; he was a hybrid. This, even though Shirley was also a student of black American musical forms, such as the Negro spiritual. And maybe what Tony Lip read as Dr. Maybe class dictated that boundary, and rather than reckoning with or subjugating himself to it—rather than confronting the ability of a black man to have such power, in the first place—Tony Lip thought up an alternative explanation.

Maybe this, maybe that: there are many gaps here.


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You can see why Vallelonga and his co-writers felt they had to fill them in. Inevitably, the material they chose to do so resulted in a less prickly and, frankly, less interesting movie: I would love to see a version of Green Book that confronted Dr. Even then, knowing all of this deflates my consternation with the film to some degree. And to bypass due diligence. And to think, as a white filmmaker, that questions of this sort are things you can blithely make up or change outright.

Black performers touring the U. This monologue, performed by freelance theatre practitioner and educator Ellison Yuyang Tan, puts the character Risa, a year-old who has lost her job, in dialogue with a psychiatrist. With a sharp, tight script by writer and drama educator Michelle Tan, as well as clever direction from theatre veteran T. Sasitharan, the play showed strong symbolism, such as when Risa removes layer upon layer of outer clothing, hinting at the uncovering of a more original, authentic self.

In another segment, she recalls her experiences while walking around in circles onstage, as if to suggest that she does not know where she is heading in life. The simple set - a plain backdrop with a couch, armchair and bicycle as the main props - also hints at an emptiness that engulfs and threatens to consume her, an unthinkably heartbreaking loss that she cannot articulate, let alone overcome.

Risa, as she readily admits herself, is a liar, although not in a law-breaking, scandalous sort of way.

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Rather, the mildness and highly relatable nature of her lies seems to suggest that everyone is a liar. Her lies run the gamut of grandiose embellishments made to justify her own actions, to reflexive defensiveness that serve to solidify the mental block within. There are also white lies, lies by omission or those that originate from a lack of courage to speak the truth.

The production delves into deep psychological tensions, but Michelle Tan's script has a lightness and optimism, with a dash of self-deprecating humour and razor-sharp sarcasm - which keeps Risa likable throughout. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused.