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Friday, January 9, 2015

BLACK AND WHITE


By D.E.Levine

Kevin Costner believed in this story so much that he financed the film himself and his portrayal is outstanding.

Elliot (Costner) is a successful, hard-drinking Los Angeles attorney.  He and his wife Carol (Jennifer Ehle) are raising their biracial granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell) the product of a union between their daughter, who died at 17 in childbirth, and a black boyfriend who has since disappeared.

When Carol is killed in a car crash, Elliot sinks into a deep, drinking depression but devotes himself to his granddaughter.

At this point Eloise's paternal grandmother , Rowena (Octavia Spencer) decides to seek custody of the child and bring the girl to live in Compton with her extended family.  Rowena's brother Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie) takes her case and there ensues an ugly court battle.

When Eloise's absentee father returns to Los Angeles and tries to start a relationship with her, Elliot, feeling that the drug-addicted man is a bad influence, gets into a contentious battle with him and the rest of his family.

This is a thinking film.  It tackles racial issues, family disfunctionality, personal biases and legal parameters.

Well cast and acted, the film was more than I hoped for and intricately weaves both humor and pathos into the story and performances.