Black or White ★★★½

"You were great. Not a lot of the other Klan members could be that articulate." ~ Rick Reynolds

Although, as the film's title indicates, this is primarily a story about race relations, there are more than a few sub-themes taken up here by writer-director Mike Binder. There's the haves versus have-nots, the importance of education, extended family versus nuclear family, the affects of drug and alcohol addiction on loving relationships, and a bit of ageism and sexism, just to make sure all the bases are covered.

Kevin Costner plays grieving widow Elliot Anderson. He's a booze-addled but successful Los Angeles lawyer whose daughter died in childbirth and wife was recently killed in an auto accident, leaving him as the sole guardian of his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell). The girl's surviving grandmother Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spenser) is a proud entrepreneur in Compton, who goes to court for custody of Eloise, eventually involving her son Reggie Davis (André Holland), the crack-head biological father who is allegedly on the mend.

The legal proceedings are interesting, but it's the familial tug-o-war that provides the interest factor here. Economically, Eloise is far better off with grandpa, but in terms of cultural and emotional bonds, perhaps granny offers the better home. It's a fascinating dilemma, well told, well acted and well worth watching.

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