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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

MOVE REVIEW – Film gives insight to biracial family’s struggles

By Jamil Oakford/editor-in-chief

Kevin Costner’s new film Black or White gives a decent look at the delicate and often difficult relationships between families who happen to be racially diverse.

Eloise (Jillian Estell) and grandfather Elliot (Kevin Costner) show the complexity of mixed families in Black or White.  Photo courtesy Relativity Media
Eloise (Jillian Estell) and grandfather Elliot (Kevin Costner) show the complexity of mixed families in Black or White.
Photo courtesy Relativity Media

The first scene starts the audience at the death of Elliot’s wife. It doesn’t take long before it’s revealed that Elliot, played by Costner, hasn’t just lost his wife. A few years back, he lost his daughter during childbirth, leaving his biracial granddaughter Eloise with him.

Black or White focuses on Elliot’s difficulties dealing with death, raising his granddaughter alone. Soon Rowena, Eloise’s paternal grandmother, is pressing to get time with her granddaughter.

The two can’t seem to agree on an informal plan of how to share Eloise, so Rowena contacts her big-shot-lawyer brother, and the mud- throwing begins.

This film does a great job giving a well-rounded view of complicated relationships in mixed families. Often in such films, the “white” side of the family is looked at as covertly or unknowingly racist.

But instead, this story shows the complications between two families that by coincidence have two different skin colors.

The level of acting in the film is fair. Costner stepped his game up and brings a multi-layered grandfather to Elliot.

Octavia Spencer, who plays Rowena, is a doting mother and a fiercely loving grandmother with her own blinding flaws.

But the credit goes to the young actress Jillian Estell, who brings a vibrant young Eloise to life. She is lovable, smart and good-natured. She shows a side of vulnerability that keeps the audience glued on her.

Anthony Mackie, best known for his role as Falcon in Captain America: Winter Soldier, gives a surprising performance as Jeremiah, Rowena’s big-shot-lawyer brother.
The most interesting thing the audience might take from this film is the large berth of gray area each character has. This movie has no complete villains and no complete saints.

Black or White doesn’t have to be seen in theaters. If movie tickets aren’t in the budget, one can wait until it comes to Redbox or Netflix.

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