Sunday, 08 February 2015 00:00

MOVIE REVIEW - Black Or White

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The new Kevin Costner drama, Black Or White is out this week. And here comes another one that national critics are slamming, and audiences are loving.


Up front, this is not going to change cinematic history by any means. But this is certainly not worthy of being drilled as hard as it has been.  There's a few things in play here though.  Many critics are living in a world where Costner can't make a good movie.  Also, many have expectations that movies are supposed to make social changes all the time, and that is simply misguided.  Occasionally they do, but it's rare.  And, many of those reviewing the movie live in a very different world than those paying to see it. The patrons are living this movie as audiences like this flick.


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BOW is very on topic with much of what's going on in today's complicated world. Costner stars as Elliot who is a big time lawyer, who drinks way to much living in Los Angeles.   His 17 year-old daughter ran away 7 years ago when she became pregnant unmarried with a 23 year-old black man, who also happened to be a crack addict.  She dies during childbirth from a heart condition, and the little girl Eloise (Jillian Estell) comes to live with Elliot and his wife.  Then Elliot's wife dies in a car accident.  And he is left to raise the mixed raced Eloise alone.

Enter Eloise's grandmother on the fathers side, Rowena (Octavia Spencer).  She believes that Eloise would be better off living with her, her very large family, and her son who Eloise's father now claiming to be clean. So the custody battle is on.  And it comes complete with all of the racial, social, economic, and every other complication one can imagine. And this is why this movie resonates with movie goers.  Many, many who go to see this have been exactly where our characters are on both sides. Granted, not to the extreme that these are, but in one way shape or form- yes.  Yes in the end, this boils down to a custody battle on film.  But so what?  That's the world we live in. 

Costner has made some questionable movies over the past few years, but this is not among them. He is good here, and at times shows flashbacks to his really great self from years ago. Costner has become an actor and not an action star these days, and that's great. Spencer is very good here, but sadly her on camera role is diminished as this movie rolls on and that's too bad. She is well cast, and her and Costner together on screen is good movie making.  Should be noted too, the character of Eloise is brilliantly written and is brought to life wonderfully by Estell. She is simply sensational, and is an incredible breath of fresh air in a movie that at times need it.

There are some light moments here, some subtle humor and has a nice supporting cast too. Including Anthony Mackie, Paula Newsome, and real kudos to Mpho Koaho who is superb as a young tutor to Eloise and becomes a family friend. He is really great. Over all this is good, and above all this is relevant.  

Black Or White.  For a mid-winter drama I am fine with this. Go see, the national critics are being way too hard on this.


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Read 2333 times Last modified on Sunday, 08 February 2015 16:25