Black or White


Main Plot Points:

  • Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer co-star in this touching comedy-drama based on real events.
  • When two grandparents, Elliott (Costner) and Rowena (Spencer), engage in a heated custody dispute over their beloved granddaughter, the ensuing legal battle forces them to confront their true feelings on race and forgiveness.
  • Can people from two seemingly different worlds find common ground when nothing is as simple as black or white?

What We Thought:

  • Black or White is a really interesting film. Before it came out, I had heard some really good buzz about it, some early awards talk, and it seemed like it was poised to become a breakout hit. Then it hit theaters and completely disappeared.
  • And for the first half or so, it seems like a pretty typical drama, about a white grandfather fighting a black grandmother for the custody of a young girl. But by the end of the film, I was completely won over by it.
  • People forget what a great actor Kevin Costner can be, but he reminds us all here. Octavia Spencer is terrific as well. But it’s the supporting cast that really makes the film shine. Anthony Mackie is excellent, Bill Burr is great as the best friend, and Mpho Koaho shines in a role that brings some humor to the film. And Paula Newsome is a bright spot in her small role as a judge. The real standout, though, is Andre Holland as young Eloise’s birth father, a troubled young man with a checkered past.
  • The film doesn’t break any new ground or do anything you’ve never seen before, but it works on an emotional level and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up at the end. It treats its characters with respect and presents real, flawed people.
  • If you like a good melodrama, check out Black or White. I’m not sure why it never lived up to its early buzz, but it’s really pretty good.

Special Features:

  • “Shades of Gray”: The Making of “Black or White”
  • Promotional Featurettes

Notable Cast & Crew:

  • Octavia Spencer
  • Kevin Costner
  • Jennifer Ehle
  • Andre Holland
  • Gillian Jacobs
  • Bill Burr
  • Anthony Mackie
  • Mpho Koaho

Recommended if You Like:

  • The Judge
  • Family drama
  • Real characters