One film getting Oscars buzz this season is "Green Book," the purportedly true story of a bigoted Italian-American man, Tony Lip, who is hired as a driver and bodyguard for the African-American jazz pianist and composer Don Shirley.
Irene Monroe, a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, said the movie presents a whitewashed history of race during the 1960s and is overly reliant on the trope of the "white savior."
"The problem with the story is it's really the white version of 'Driving Miss Daisy,'" Monroe said on her regular segment on Boston Public Radio, "All Revved Up."
Monroe added that the film doesn't fully convey the historical importance of the real-life "Green Book," which was a guide book for black motorists traveling during the Jim Crow era to help them find safe places to stay.
"It devalues the narrative and the importance of the 'Green Book' and how it saved so many lives, using that trope of the 'white hero,'" Monroe said.
The film has also been criticized by members of Shirley's family, who say its portrayal of the pianist's relationship with his family is inaccurate. As a result, the actor who plays Shirley, Mahershala Ali, apologized.
"The [Shirley] family is in a big kerfuffle about it because it gives this notion that he was estranged not only from his black family ... and that he's disconnected from the black community," Monroe explained.