Watch Black or White
- 2 hr 1 min
"Black or White" from 2014 is a moving drama film directed by Mike Binder that confronts the tensions of race, class, and family in America. It stars Kevin Costner as Elliot Anderson, a wealthy and successful Los Angeles lawyer still going through the grieving process after losing his wife in a car accident. Octavia Spencer plays Rowena Jeffers, the grandmother of Elliot's biracial granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell).
The story commences with Elliot and his wife raising Eloise after the unexpected passing of her mother (and Elliot's daughter). When Elliot's wife also passes away in a car crash, Rowena starts a legal battle for custody of Eloise, arguing that her grandson's wealthy family is unfit to raise the child. More conflict arises between Elliot and Rowena when they both attempt to connect with Eloise in their own ways.
The movie revolves around fundamental themes of family values, love and loss, and race relations in America. The film depicts the magnanimous yet tested moral fortitude of Elliot as he tries to reclaim his granddaughter from Rowena, whose background and struggles enable her to empathize with the societal issues besieging the African American population. The multi-layered and nuanced storytelling offers a poignant commentary on the complexities of race relations.
The film excels in its portrayal of the emotionally charged courtroom scenes in which both parties clash, bringing their biases and prejudices to the fore. Kevin Costner is exceptional in his role as a grandfather who struggles to adapt to his role as the primary caregiver for his granddaughter while battling his addiction to alcohol. Octavia Spencer delivers an equally compelling performance as the grandmother who knows her past too well, along with her struggles to make ends meet due to being from a lower socioeconomic background. The ensemble cast of the movie, including Jillian Estell, Gillian Jacobs, and Anthony Mackie, portray roles that reflect the struggles and realities that Americans, regardless of their racial backgrounds, face in their daily lives.
The film's director, Mike Binder, who also wrote the script, takes the audience through the story's density by providing a deep insight into the complexities, nuances, and tensions that arise when two drastically different black and white communities collide. By making the characters reflect real-life people's moral dilemmas, the writer captures the essence of the contemporary race debate.
One of the key strengths of the movie lies in its ability to portray different viewpoints without being preachy. The film's thematic elements are complex, and it illustrates the difficulties people face when it comes to expressing their feelings and vulnerabilities in a manner that doesn't alienate or feel insensitive. The movie's fluid pace keeps the audience engaged throughout by balancing the emotional aspect of the drama with the courtroom battles and tension between the opposing sides.
The movie's soundtrack plays an integral role in setting the tone of the film due to its rawness, with tracks that feature classic guitar chords and instrumentation that invoke Elvis Presley's deep blues. The movie's soundtrack is minimalistic and stripped down but poignant, making some of the film's scenes even more impactful.
In conclusion, "Black or White" from 2014 is a masterpiece that captures humanity's spirit and the intricacies of race relations in America. It offers a rich commentary on the complexities associated with race and identity while providing solid performances from the cast that breathe life into the story. It's a highly recommended film that offers a refreshing take on a genre that has been overdone in recent years.
Black or White is a 2015 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 45.