If you still don’t understand why many critics have issues with a Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated movie like Green Book, Seth Meyers is here to explain as the “white savior” of Amber Ruffin’s Late Night with Seth Meyers sketch.
Meyers plays every “white savior” archetype in White Savior: The Movie, which spoofs movies like Green Book, The Help, Hidden Figures, The Blind Side, and Dangerous Minds. It’s the story “about a black woman who made history and a man who was white when she did,” per the logline.
The sketch, co-written by and starring Ruffin, takes particular aim at Green Book, being that it’s been nominated (and already won) all these awards this season.
In the spoof, a voice narrates, “PEOPLE magazine says, ‘This movie is a triumph.’ And the black person it’s based on says, ‘This is not at all how it happened.'” In real life, the brother of Dr. Donald Shirley (played in Green Book by Mahershala Ali) called the movie a “symphony of lies.”
In the spoof, Meyers introduces Ruffin to something she “definitely already knew about,” jazz. In Green Book, Viggo Mortensen‘s character introduces Shirley to fried chicken.
“And you know this movie was written by a white person,” adds the White Savior narrator, “because the black person becomes friends with the racist.”
Green Book was further parodied on Thursday by the comedy duo Desus and Mero in “the story of a white man, who had the courage to know a black person.”
Speaking with EW after the Golden Globe nominations, Green Book director Peter Farrelly addressed all the “white savior” criticism.
“We were quite aware of that trope before we ever started shooting,” he said. “We had long discussions with Mahershala and Viggo, and with [executive producer] Octavia [Spencer] and Kwame Parker, my line producer. We wanted to avoid it, and personally, I think we did. I don’t think we fall into any of those tropes. It’s about two guys who were complete opposites and found a common ground, and it’s not one guy saving the other. It’s both saving each other and pulling each other into some place where they could bond and form a lifetime friendship.”
“I’m glad, though, that there’s discussion about race,” he added. “I like that there’s discussion about all this. I think anytime there is, it’s a good thing. People have their opinions about it, but my goal in making the movie was bringing people together, and that’s it.”