Black or White

Fettuccini Alfredo *****

It was a hard decision, one that I nearly regretted as I walked into the theater to see Black or White. The choices were Seventh Son, Jupiter Ascending, or American Sniper again. We went to see Costner’s movie. I had extremely low expectations and felt that I had wasted the night when I went to sit in the small theater for this small scale movie, or so I thought.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this movie to be well acted, intelligently humorous, humanly relational, and comprised of an intriguing plot. Black or White although seemingly marketing a racial confrontation in this movie actually proves itself to be something much more. It is actually the story of a broken family further torn apart by the presupposition of racism. At its core, Black or White takes a very real situation (a strange yet clearly possible situation) and seeks to show the strenuous, humorous, and confusing journey to a resolution that involves more than giving up a racist outlook. The issue is more about forgiveness and judging than merely racism. This is what made the movie non-cliche and interesting. Its about the people in the story more than about the evil of racism.

Kevin Costner is a lovable character who cares deeply about his granddaughter yet feels unfitted while Octavia Spencer is a strong-willed woman who wants the best for her granddaughter too but thinks herself too fit for the task. These motivations yet opposite feelings push them into a court battle that breaks open the dark held secrets of their family and the deep hurts between them. Black or White is both a lighthearted movie with serious overtones. Its not entirely inspirational or delusional optimistic, but it keeps a realistic outlook on life and its conclusions. Sometimes they are dramatic, sometimes anti-climatic, but overall there are resolutions (no matter how rough they are). And with human emotions and actions there is no telling what can happen. This movie gives us exactly that, but it does a splendid job of keeping us engaged, entertained, yet soberly  aware of life’s calamities and troubles. Let’s take things at face-value and lets deal with the problems that are already there instead of skirting around them because the consequences are there and other lives are at stake too. That’s the thrust of the movie and although the problems seem small or insignificant, for the typical human being they are still problems to be dealt with.

The musical score is contemporary and in-style, the humor is intelligent (making this movie near close to a lighthearted comedy), the story is real, the motivations compelling, and the plot intriguing. Although Black or White did not get much marketing (most likely do to its racial put-offs), it is a pleasant movie that was more entertaining than many other movies I’ve watched. I would watch it sometime because its a movie worth watching and it probably has more width and depth than Jeff Bridges’ random action flick and the Wachowski brother’s mixed sci-fi movie.


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