From Writer and Director Mike Binder – the man who brought us REIGN OVER ME and THE UPSIDE OF ANGER – comes a poignant and poetic drama touching on race relations at the very core of our lives – and families – with his new film – BLACK OR WHITE.
Loosing his wife very unexpectedly, Elliott Anderson (Kevin Costner) finds himself lost and alone, and trying desperately to pull himself together, as he is now faced with raising his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell), on his own.
Saddened by the passing of Eloise’s other grandmother, but determined that Eloise be raised by her father’s side of the family, Grandma Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer) sets out to adopt Eloise, and enlists the help her nephew, Counselor Jeremiah Jeffers (Anthony Macke) to make it happen.
Elliott is bound and determined to keep Eloise in his care – where she has always been – since the death of her mother. But, sadly, Elliott has found solace in the bottle to comfort him in his time of grief, and Grandma We We is not about to let Eloise stay in his care, especially if he is bound and determined to numb himself with alcohol. And if the exploitation that Elliott is an alcoholic isn’t enough to convince the judge to hand Eloise over to her Grandmother, maybe the new found interest that her son, and absentee father Reggie Davis (Andre’ Holland) has for being a part of his daughter’s life, will…
Will Elliott be able to get his act together and prove Eloise is best suited to continue her life in his care? Will Reggie convince the Judge that he is no longer a junkie and that he deserves his little girl in his life? And will Rowena find it in her heart to do what is best for Eloise, even though it may not be living with her family?
I give BLACK OR WHITE a B+: The storyline of this film is very apropos for the complexity of our culture, as it brings out the many misconceptions that both Blacks and Whites have for one another. But, must I say even more important to the storyline of this film, is the fact that it also brings to the conscious that love and understanding has no color. Costner is absolutely superb as the dotting Grandfather, Spencer is equally as good as the Grandmother on a mission and Jillian Estell is one young actress that you will want to keep your eyes on, as she is going to give Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild, 12 Years a Slave, Annie) a run for her money in years to come, as she too is perfect in her role as Eloise. Throw in the fantastic acting by Macke and Holland, and you have yourself one incredibly moving and extremely touching film. You will laugh, you will cry, you will enjoy each and every frame because BLACK OR WHITE touches at the heart of the human spirit, regardless of what color of skin you live in J
P.S. And for all my girlfriends who think that I just gave this film a GLOWING review because I was blessed with covering the Red Carpet event for the film in St. Louis, you are wrong. It was incredible getting to see Kevin Costner in person, that’s true, but this film is truly a FABULOUS FILM that EVERYONE ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO SEE!!!