Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Movie Review - Black or White

There is no gray area in this film. It touches on the subject of race with all its ugly issues as it falls squarely in the middle of a family. And the role of Rowena Jeffers was written for Octavia Spencer. No woman can roll her eyes like that woman. When she looks at someone and gives them "that" look, they know she is serious. 

Kevin Costner plays Elliot Anderson a white attorney who we learn at the start of the film has just lost his wife in a car accident. Jillian Estelle plays his bi-racial granddaughter Eloise, whom he and his wife have had custody of since her mother died in childbirth. Up until that morning they had a wonderful life.

It is clear that Eloise is very happy in her home with her grandparents and they adore her. She is enrolled in a private school and is a cute, smart, well mannered little girl. No spoiler here, after her grandmother's death Eloise's other grandmother, Wewe (Spencer), makes it clear that the child needs "her people" and goes to court for custody.

The film is heart warming and heart breaking. Costner plays a man totally bereft without his wife, and now looking at the idea of losing Eloise is more than he can or wants to handle. He has issues. Eloise's real father shows up and he has issues. Nothing is clear.

The story is humorous at times. It is sad at times. And there times when you will ask yourself, "Would I act differently if it were me?"

If this were a bigger film, Estill would be up for some major awards. As it is she still was recognized by the Black Reel Awards as Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female. She plays this character so well. Need I say anything about Octavia Spencer, she was excellent in the film. And Costner plays the roll of Elliot so well. His on screen personality fits the part. 

This is not a story that is black or white. It does not answer the question we all still ask. It does not heal any wounds or beat any drums. It does show us that black or white don't matter. But best of all it is a good story, well acted, that is worth 121 minutes of your time.

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