MOVIE REVIEW: “Black or White” stars Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves, 3 Days to Kill), Octavia Spencer (The Help, Snowpiercer), Jillian Estell (So This Is Christmas), Bill Burr (Date Night, Walk of Shame), Mpho Koaho (Saw III, Four Brothers), Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hurt Locker), and Andre Holland (42, Selma). It is written and directed by Mike Binder (Reign Over Me, The Upside of Anger). Elliot Anderson (Costner) is a newly widowed man who faces trouble when his half white/half black granddaughter’s other grandmother wants to take custody of her. Elliot believes that his granddaughter, Eloise (Estell), belongs to him and will do whatever it takes to keep her from living in the lifestyle of her other grandmother, even if it takes him to court.
Oh boy, here we go with a movie called “Black or White” (sarcasm). Usually with a title like that I’m asking for some sort of documentary on racism and equality (not that those are wrong, its just I’ve seen enough movies supporting that theme). Although racism was brought up sometimes during the movie, it was not the case. It was a pretty good film and to get things started, let me say that the plot was interesting, offering something I haven’t seen before. When I say that, I mean that I’ve seen movies built up around white and black people not getting along. However this movie was really about one person than a whole group. It cut the crap about what color you were and just got down to who had rights to hold onto Eloise, which was something refreshing and not so stereotypical in a film. Whenever they did bring up racism however, I still liked it because it was usually brought up with Kevin Costner’s character and he got fed up every time, which was nice. The characters were entertaining to watch and although I didn’t laugh at their scripted “jokes”, you still felt that those were real people and not actors (well, most of them). With that in mind, the acting was really good. I think my favorite actor out of all of them would have to be Anthony Mackie though. Yes, Kevin Costner is there too, and he’s a fantastic actor, but I’ve been seeing Mackie in quite a bit of films recently and although he is usually the sidekick in every one, he still gives it his all, and his all is something great. Away from the acting angle, let me tell you about another good thing that came out of this movie: the transitions of one type of lifestyle to another. The director really knew how to capture the way of living from a rich man in a big house to a middle class family in a shady, but not too shady, town. The colors changed and the differences of life were promoted, and that is great directing. Besides the lifestyles, other well-directed and acted parts of this movie were the courtroom scenes. Like I felt with “The Judge”, I enjoy watching courtroom scenes. It’s the drama and tension of them that draws me in, and the courtroom scenes in this film were the best of the whole thing. Now, with this film I have three issues. The first one would be how some things didn’t seem to click in my mind, mainly between Eloise and Elliot. It’s with the things they did that didn’t make much sense, like her barking at him and him calling her his dog or puppy. I know it’s a “thing” that relationships establish, but it’s a rather odd one. That and when Eloise asks of Elliot to command her to brush her teeth. She did this for a while, asking him to get angry at her about it, but it didn’t make any sense! Why would you have someone tell you to brush your teeth when you can just do it? I’ll never know. The next con on my list is the musical score. Overall, it’s okay and offers some good tones to the movie, but when I say “some” I mean very little. For most of this movie, the music didn’t seem to blend in right with the situation. They would either use one same score in different ways or cut a bunch of random, loud, different songs together to make something (like the pool party scene). It won’t be a major distraction to those who just watch a film for enjoyment (like they should be, am I right?), but I look deeper into a movie, taking it in as a piece of art to study, and I am thorough with everything that goes into making one. The musical composer seemed to have the right intentions with this one, but had more misses than hits. Finally, the last con would be how the first act, and half of the second act, of this film doesn’t have as much of an entertaining grip as the ones preceding it. I think it really gains momentum or it’s punch when Reggie comes over and the preparations for court begins. Overall, this film is very enjoyable, offering something new as well as a well-written storyline to keep you interested. I recommend anyone to check it out! FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: