Black or White

First Hit:  Good theme however the execution was very uneven.

Elliot Anderson’s (Kevin Costner) wife dies suddenly. He and his wife have been the primary care takers for their deceased daughter’s child, Eloise (Jillian Estell).

The child is of mixed race and her black father Reggie (Andre Holland) is addicted to crack cocaine and has not been present in Eloise's life. Reggie’s mother (the other grandparent) Rowena (Octavia Spencer) now wants to have custody of Eloise because she doesn’t think Elliot will be a good parent and because she wants her granddaughter to have a black family experience. To do this Rowena hires her nephew Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie) who is a corporate lawyer.

This film comes to a culmination in a couple of courtroom scenes and a scene at Elliot’s home towards the end of the film. At times, I was waiting for the film to progress and at other times it was interesting. The addition of Duvan (Mpho Koaho) as Eloise and Elliot’s tutor was great. The point of the film was; what’s the difference between how black people see white people and how white people see blacks - only one scene in the courtroom begins to address this important item.

Costner is at times good (as a drunk) and OK with the rest of the role. Estell was fabulous and was the star of the film. Spencer was good as the pushy woman who usually gets her way but having a blind spot for her family. Koaho was divine and joy to watch. Mackie was strong as the Jeffers’ family attorney. Holland was OK as the drugged out father. Mike Binder wrote and directed this film and unfortunately it didn’t live up to the possibilities.

Overall:  The film was contrived at times and funny at others.