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Black or White (2014)

PG-13 | | Drama | 30 January 2015 (USA)
Trailer
2:15 | Trailer
A grieving widower is drawn into a custody battle over his granddaughter, whom he helped raise her entire life.

Director:

Mike Binder

Writer:

Mike Binder
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Costner ... Elliott Anderson
Octavia Spencer ... Rowena Jeffers
Jillian Estell ... Eloise Anderson
Bill Burr ... Rick Reynolds
Mpho Koaho ... Duvan Araga
Anthony Mackie ... Jeremiah Jeffers
André Holland ... Reggie Davis
Gillian Jacobs ... Fay
Jennifer Ehle ... Carol Anderson
Paula Newsome ... Judge Margaret Cummins
Indigo ... Young Nurse
Bertha Bindewald Bertha Bindewald ... Rosita
Joe Chrest ... Dave
Ireyon Johnson Ireyon Johnson ... Kristen
Janeline Hayes ... Dondi
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Storyline

Black or White is the story of a grandfather (Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When her paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody with the help of her brother (Anthony Mackie), the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply. With the best intentions at heart, both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness, and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white. Written by Relativity

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's more to family than what you see.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black and White See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,213,362, 1 February 2015

Gross USA:

$21,571,189

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,833,967
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Octavia Spencer plays the mother of Andre Holland's character. In real-life, Spencer is only 7 years older than Holland. Anthony Mackie plays Holland's uncle; in real-life both actors were born in the same year (1979). See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie Costner is at home talking to Eliose. Then he asks the tutor he hired to drive him somewhere. So they leave 9 year old Eliose at the house by herself which I'm assuming was a mistake made by the director. Nothing was said or shown about having a baby sitter there so one would assume the girl was home alone. And it wasn't ever brought up in the movie that Costner left her home alone. If it wasn't a mistake then just the fact of him leaving her home alone would've been brought up in court because the film is centered around a custody battle. -- They have a maid who is there during the day so no, Elliot didn't leave Eloise alone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Rick Reynolds: Elliot. Hey.
Elliot Anderson: [dialing his phone] David, it's Elliot. I'm not going home, they'll be takng her body to Richter Memorial. I'll come back in the morning, meet them, go with her, see what's the next step. I'll take to you in the morning.
Elliot Anderson: [now to Rick] ... My brother.
Rick Reynolds: She's gone?
Elliot Anderson: [yes]
Rick Reynolds: Well, what did the doctor say?
Elliot Anderson: That they, um... that they did what they could.
Rick Reynolds: Oh, God, Elliot, I'm so sorry.
See more »


Soundtracks

Honey
Written by Jason Blume and Sharron March
Performed by Mike Lusk
Courtesy of Position Music/Choicetracks, Inc.
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User Reviews

Forget about race. This film is about custody and some fine acting.
4 February 2015 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"She's got the best of both worlds" (song over the credits)

Like the ambiguous title, that song encapsulates what is real and wrong about Mike Binder's Black or White. On the one hand it's about a wealthy lawyer, Elliot (Kevin Costner), trying to hang on to custody of his bi-racial six-year-old granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell). On the other hand, it's about the black relatives, including grandma (Octavia Spencer), trying to claim her for their own. That's all real if not clichéd in movies.

What's wrong is the lack of emphasis on race because so much is left to be said, except for Elliot's dynamic speech about racism in the courtroom custody proceedings. OK, I will be inconsistent by saying the lack of debate about race adds to the art of the film in highlighting the real conflicts: custody and substance abuse. By defusing the anticipated race arguments, Binder gives a fuller treatment of how the court can handle an alcoholic grandfather (Elliott) and a junkie father, Jeremiah (Andrew Merkie).

(Kevin Costner is coming back in his career. Although I was disappointed he didn't follow Dances with Wolves with greatness, it is good to see how natural he is in front of the camera these days.)

While kindly but stubborn black Grandma makes observations to the court, even with the possibility of jail time, it becomes clear that what Binder wishes to tackle is the web of arguments about who has the right to be the kid's guardian. In some regards, the film is reminiscent of the many racial parts in Paul Haggis' Crash.

It's not an easy argument to settle.

"Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give." Unknown Author


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