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Black or White

February 7, 2015
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I’m a big Kevin Costner (recently turned 60) fan, so I see almost all of his movies. The title is ironic, since it explores the murky, gray world of racial relations. (On a more personal note, it also gets me longing for my favorite cookie, the “Black and White.”)

Elliott (Kevin) is a well-off attorney who has been drinking too much since his daughter died seven years ago, although he is still functioning. He and his wife were raising his mixed-race granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell), after his daughter died.  His daughter was impregnated by a black man (Reggie-Andre Holland) with serious drug and other problems, who recently was released from prison and claims to have cleaned up his act. Elliott has intense anger towards him for some excellent reasons, but could some of it be because Reggie is a black man who got his daughter pregnant?

Elliott’s wife dies, and his drinking spins out of control.  Eloise’s grandmother Rowena (Octavia Spencer) decides this is a good time to try to get TOTAL custody of Eloise, since she is resentful that Eloise doesn’t see the black side of the family much.  She also has serious doubts about how well Elliott can manage raising Eloise without his wife’s help, since she was the primary parent. Some of Rowena’s reasons are valid, but how much of her motivation is because she doesn’t want Eloise to be raised by a rich white man in a white-bread neighborhood?

Rowena’s son Jeremiah (Anthony MacKie) is a Family Law attorney who decides the best strategy  to win custody is to portray Elliott as a racist.

The film primarily involves the complicated relationships of all the above characters and the court custody battle. The movie raises some interesting questions about prejudice and how much anyone can really do about it, even trying one’s best to be color blind.

There were many good and even a few excellent scenes.  At times, the film drags, and too much of the movie was just average.

Rating-7.0-Solid rental, but not worth a trip to the BS unless you are a Costner fan.

Dave

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