Black or White (Movie 2015)

3 Kernels

Stars:  Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer

I sneaked off one afternoon out of boredom and went and saw Black or White when my show buddy was away for the weekend.

Kevin Costner has always been one of my favorite actors. Even though he is showing his age, he still comes across the screen as a good watch. Black or White was a movie that he produced with his own money. The movie was released at a time in the United States when we were experiencing the discontent between the black community and law enforcement. Whether it helped to mend old prejudices, I doubt, but it was food for thought.

The story revolves around Elliott Anderson, played by Costner. He and his wife are the guardians of their granddaughter who has a black father and white mother (their daughter). The father is alive, but the daughter has passed away, as well as Elliott’s wife recently. Grandfather is faced with grieving and drinking over the death of his spouse, while now becoming the primary caregiver of his granddaughter, Eloise.

While he struggles to pull things together between multiple bottles of booze, Rowena (played by Spencer) decides to sue for custody thinking that her granddaughter would be better off with her large family. Unfortunately, Eloise’s father is still a drug addict, even though he tells everyone, including mama, that he’s clean. Elloitt knows better and fights for full custody of Eloise.

The movie, of course, is a statement between one little girl caught between two races — black or white. She wants to stay with grandpa, but also wants to be with her daddy and family.  If anyone has an identity crisis, it’s the little girl being pulled between two arguing grandparents over which is better — the black world or the white world.

Of course, the movie deals with the stereotypes each side places upon one another. The attorney for Rowena wants to turn the custody battle into a race war, when all Elliott wants is his granddaughter who he sees as neither black or white. He loves hers and wants her to grow up in his household.

The movie challenges the audiences own thoughts of race and does a good job of making you look inside and examine your own prejudices and how you view people of a different color. It’s not a great flick, but it is a thought-provoking flick worth the watch if you want to walk the thin line between black and white.

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