Family and race collide in Black or White. Presented by D Films and playing at various Cineplex Odeon theatres around B.C. and at the International Village Cinemas this insightful story chalks up some pretty strong memorable moments.
Hot on the heels of the Oscar snubbed Selma homage to Dr. Martin Luther King comes an equally insightful film about race relations in The United States. Talk about perfect timing. Though the element of violence is secondary here there still is that distinct undercurrent. Suffice it to say that this 120 drama looks at the root causes of some turmoil pent up in a rather dysfunctional family.
Custody battles can be bitter affairs. So here writer/director Mike Binder concentrates on the struggle in raising a young Afro American girl. Child of the hour Eloise Jefferson finds herself caught in a tug of war between a man and a woman, with a twist. Cute as a button is Jillian Estell who must choose between staying with her grandfather Elliot or going back to her dad Reggie Davis. Both men have a flaw or two, to put it mildly, with Kevin Costner (The Bodyguard) and Reggie Davis (42) perfectly suited as opposing forces.
Mr. Binder succeeds in turning a simple family squabble into a real look at the deep divides between blacks and whites south of the border. Strong support for the disenfranchised dad comes your way from a radiant Octavia Spencer (The Help) and the quick lipped Anthony Mackie as a sharp tongued lawyer.
Sharp courtroom scenes, surprises and a sincere look at the struggles with addictions make Black or White a cut above most race themed movies.
By Robert Waldman