Sunday, February 22, 2015

Black or White addresses racism on both sides

Movie: Black or White

PG-13, 2 hours 1 minute

Grade: B

In a Nutshell:  Inspired by true events, Academy Award winner Kevin Costner produced this heartbreaking and heart warming film that attempts to cross black and white barriers to understanding and accepting one another.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Unfortunately, race is still an issue in this country.  Kevin Costner plays a hard-drinking and newly widowed grandfather, trying to raise his mixed race granddaughter.  Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays Rowena Spencer (Grandma WeeWee).   Rowena says “But you don’t want her down here, do you Elliott…here with the black folks…?”  Elliott brushes her off and says “Don’t start with that.  What is it with you? Why do you always have to go there?” She spits back “What is it with you that you don’t want to admit that there’s a ‘there’ there?”

Things I liked:
·         There are some funny moments like when Kevin Costner tries to brush his granddaughter’s black hair.  Frazzled, he asks “This is every day?”  There are also a lot of funny/awkward moments, like when Grandma WeeWeePee tries to kiss Kevin Costner or give him "some love" with a hug.
·         The evolving relationship between Elliott Anderson and his granddaughter, Heloise, is very sweet.  It’s cute how they tap their heart with their fingers when they say goodbye to each other.
·         The math tutor (“Johnny Quest sidekick”)  played by Mpho Koaho is adorable.  I love how he has written papers on so many different subjects and is always there to support Elliott.
·         Jillian Estel (Eloise) does a great job and is adorable.

Things I didn’t like:
·         I don’t care what color you are…if you’re doing drugs, I don’t want you around my kids.  It bugged me that Rowena and her brother sued Elliott, claiming he didn’t want Eloise around her biological father because he was black, as if his drug use, prison time, and dangerous lifestyle had nothing to do with it.
·         Some of the characters in the story are ridiculously stereotyped on both sides.

Funny lines:
·         “I’m no good at math; I’m a lawyer.  Do you know what we’re good at?” - Elliott
“What?” – Heloise
“Nothing…….it’s a little joke.” – Elliott
  “Duvan, tell me the truth. What planet are you really from?  OK? I’m not going to report you.  I just would like to know.” - Elliott

Interesting lines:
·         “She’s not black.  Alright, she’s half black. She’s also half white.  What does that have to do with anything anyway?  That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said.” – Elliott
·         “I don’t watch much television.  I’m afraid for me it is not a nourishing form of entertainment.” – Duvan

Tips for Parents:
·         Language, including the “N” word and 1 F-bomb, drinking, drug use, and a couple of fights.
*    Custody battles often cause emotional hurt for both parents and children.  Because of the complicated nature of race and custody, this film would be boring and inappropriate for young children.  
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