Black or White is the story of a grandfather (Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When her paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody with the help of her brother (Anthony Mackie), the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply. With the best intentions at heart, both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness, and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.Written by
Don't Ask Me Why
Written and Performed by Billy Joel
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Costner and Spencer light up the screen but Mike Binder's film misses the mark
Black or White tells the story of Elliot Anderson, a grieving widow who must take care of his granddaughter, Eloise, after losing his daughter as well. Once Eloise's African American grandmother, Rowena comes into the picture, all hell breaks loose as a bitter custody battle ensues. Directed by Mike Binder, Black or White stars Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Bill Burr, and Anthony Mackie. The film contains a pair of excellent performances but doesn't truly capitalize on the idea the film wants to get across. Kevin Costner is absolutely amazing as Elliott, a white grandfather to Eloise and soon-to-be alcoholic. What Costner does is introduce some one sided occurrences regarding race relations but thats as far as it goes. Black or White plays it very safe in telling this story when in all actuality it just needs a bit more honesty. The film is an entertaining drama and does hold your attention but it also proves that Mike Binder may not have had a total grasp of this film's real story. This is a story about Eloise and seeing this through her eyes. Binder never allows us to sink into Eloise's character and this makes for a very one sided film at times for both blacks and whites because Eloise is a supporting character and the lead is Kevin Costner. One thing that is extremely frustrating is the idea that Binder needed to include a black male character as a junkie and being untrustworthy. While yes, there are plenty of these people of ALL races, it feels like Binder was really trying to say something else here. Having Eloise's father be a black crackhead that has trouble staying clean is a bit of a clichè in terms of racism and I'm not quite sure why Binder chose to portray that character like that. There's plenty other things Eloise's father could have been and a crackhead should not have been one of them. Octavia Spencer gives another great performance as Rowena but Binder feels so obsessed with painting her as a cold and, at times, villainous character that is willing to go to the lowest depths to get Eloise to be released into her custody. Despite these moments that shift her character's intentions, Rowena just wants to be a grandmother and Elliott just wants to be a grandfather. The film's conclusion also seemed a bit too tied up because anyone who knows anything about custody battles knows that the fight continues outside the court for a very long time and I don't feel the film gave enough honesty to the topic at hand. Overall, Black or White is a decent film with a pair of amazing performances but the film's plot and heavy stereotypical racism hampers its hopes to becoming the important film it wants to be.
15 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this