Black or White ★★★½

Everyone has an actor or two they will follow anywhere, no questions asked. 

Kevin Costner is one of those actors for me. I can't really explain it. He's been in so many shitty movies (sooo many!) and I don't care. I still really love this guy. I think he has one of the best faces in the business; he's a born movie star, his charisma and gravitas always elevates the material he's working on. So I'll watch any craptacular film for him. Because I love him, and I'm a loyal fan for life.

So I went in with low expectations for Black or White, a film that absolutely no one was talking about when it was released two years ago. I was expecting typical Craptacular Costner. It sounds subtle as a jackhammer: a white widower raises his bi-racial granddaughter alone until her black grandmother comes along and demands custody. You can imagine all of the possible plot entanglements and dialogue exchanges in your head. You're not wrong -- it all happens in this film. 

But surprisingly, there's more to it than the heavy-handed subject and awkward racial overtones. Writer/director Mike Binder, who also did Indian Summer (one of my all-timers) and the terrific The Upside of Anger, uses the race card in a progressively modern way. He observes it, it's discussed and then handled with a deftness that I hadn't anticipated. Binder has an innate ability of making everything go down easy. Even though you have a sense of where all of this is going, he knows when to pause for moments of genuine emotion.

And Costner is a real winner here. He's a drunk, he's angry, he's upset, but he is also deeply capable of loving and nurturing and, more importantly, he understands the importance of second chances.