Sunday, 18 December 2016

Black or White (2014) Movie Review

Black or White stars Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and Gillian Jacobs in a drama about a custody battle for Elliott Anderson's (Costner's) mixed race grand-daughter.  I watched this yesterday on Netflix - after much procrastination - and enjoyed it.  The casting of the little girl was impeccable; totally believable as the child torn between loyalty to and love for her grandfather, and her love for her wider African-American extended family.  Add to this the longing for a father she never knew and you have the makings of a good dramatic tale.

I had feared that this movie would be predictable and preachy, but I was wrong.  The subject matter, I feel, was appropriately handled with a good dose of realism mixed with smatterings of Hollywood caricatures and absurdities, for dramatic and sometimes comic effect.

Having said that, I didn't find myself as emotionally invested as I should have been, and I'm not sure why.  There was plenty of emotional bait drip-fed to the viewer, so perhaps this speaks more to my state of mind while watching than to the movie's power to engage its audience and make them feel something.

If you like dramas and movies about race/ racial identity, then you might well enjoy this one.

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