Black or White
Directed by Mike Binder
A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life.
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★★★★ review by KGW on Letterboxd
A very heartfelt and emotional story that really opened my eyes; Skin-color isn't important, love is just love. Kevin Costner did a super job, Octavia Spencer was incredible, and the little girl was adorable.
Highly recommend checking this one out.
★★★½ review by Michael Vazquez on Letterboxd
Nice film. Solid performances from Costner, Spencer, Holland, Mackie, Burr & Koaho. Pretty much the entire cast. And isn't Jillian Estell such an adorable girl?
★★★½ review by TajLV on Letterboxd
"You were great. Not a lot of the other Klan members could be that articulate." ~ Rick Reynolds
Although, as the film's title indicates, this is primarily a story about race relations, there are more than a few sub-themes taken up here by writer-director Mike Binder. There's the haves versus have-nots, the importance of education, extended family versus nuclear family, the affects of drug and alcohol addiction on loving relationships, and a bit of ageism and sexism, just to make sure all the bases are covered.
Kevin Costner plays grieving widow Elliot Anderson. He's a booze-addled but successful Los Angeles lawyer whose daughter died in childbirth and wife was recently killed in an auto accident, leaving him as the sole guardian of his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell). The girl's surviving grandmother Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spenser) is a proud entrepreneur in Compton, who goes to court for custody of Eloise, eventually involving her son Reggie Davis (André Holland), the crack-head biological father who is allegedly on the mend.
The legal proceedings are interesting, but it's the familial tug-o-war that provides the interest factor here. Economically, Eloise is far better off with grandpa, but in terms of cultural and emotional bonds, perhaps granny offers the better home. It's a fascinating dilemma, well told, well acted and well worth watching.
★★★½ review by Dave on Letterboxd
Everyone has an actor or two they will follow anywhere, no questions asked.
Kevin Costner is one of those actors for me. I can't really explain it. He's been in so many shitty movies (sooo many!) and I don't care. I still really love this guy. I think he has one of the best faces in the business; he's a born movie star, his charisma and gravitas always elevates the material he's working on. So I'll watch any craptacular film for him. Because I love him, and I'm a loyal fan for life.
So I went in with low expectations for Black or White, a film that absolutely no one was talking about when it was released two years ago. I was expecting typical Craptacular Costner. It sounds subtle as a jackhammer: a white widower raises his bi-racial granddaughter alone until her black grandmother comes along and demands custody. You can imagine all of the possible plot entanglements and dialogue exchanges in your head. You're not wrong -- it all happens in this film.
But surprisingly, there's more to it than the heavy-handed subject and awkward racial overtones. Writer/director Mike Binder, who also did Indian Summer (one of my all-timers) and the terrific The Upside of Anger, uses the race card in a progressively modern way. He observes it, it's discussed and then handled with a deftness that I hadn't anticipated. Binder has an innate ability of making everything go down easy. Even though you have a sense of where all of this is going, he knows when to pause for moments of genuine emotion.
And Costner is a real winner here. He's a drunk, he's angry, he's upset, but he is also deeply capable of loving and nurturing and, more importantly, he understands the importance of second chances.
★★★½ review by Kevin💙🌈 on Letterboxd
This was a movie I bought at the dollar store for a dollar (surprising right?) and it wasn’t terrible I would actually recommend this one.
Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner both give
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