The critical reception to Green Book has been disproportionately harsh, considering the movie isn’t that much less sophisticated than something like Hidden Figures—another inspirational drama rooted in the racial dynamics of the early 1960s. Here, the narrative centers on Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a racist Italian-American bouncer hired to drive concert pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour of the Deep South, during which they learn valuable life lessons from each other. (The movie is based on an actual relationship between Shirley and Frank Anthony Vallelonga.) The difference between Green Book and Hidden Figures—aside from the quality of the performances, which I’ll get to—is that Green Book’s “progressive” politics are at least 30 years behind the times. (Not all black people like fried chicken?!) As a result, much of this is cringe-inducing from the vantage point of 2018. Yet the truth is that there are still audiences who will find some things in Green Book instructive and enlightening. And there’s no real harm in them having that experience (or, I suppose, nominating this for the Best Picture Oscar in appreciation), unless it leaves them under the mistaken impression that racism was solved by way of the movie’s recreated car ride. (In which case I’d recommend fellow Best Picture nominee BlacKkKlansman as a wake-up call.) All that said, absolutely no one—Oscar voters included—should find Mortensen’s performance anything other than excruciating. From the hand gestures to the accent, it’s as if he jumped out of a vintage photo at The Olive Garden shouting, “Unlimited breadsticks for everahbody!” Mortensen is a supremely talented actor, but he does himself no favors by trying to match the broad strokes painted by this naive, outdated movie.