Black or White

Theatrical Release: January 30, 2015
Black or White


“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.

Dove Review

“Black or White” is a powerful movie that deals with touchy topics such as racism and what it means to be a good parent. Kevin Costner turns in an excellent performance as Elliot Anderson, as does Octavia Spencer as Rowena Jeffers. Anderson’s daughter died in childbirth, leaving Anderson and his wife little Eloise (Jillian Estell) to raise. Eloise has a black father (AndrĂ© Holland) named Reggie, and it is his mother Rowena who becomes involved in a legal battle for Eloise after Anderson’s wife dies. Eloise calls her grandmother “Grandma Wee Wee.” Anderson, having lost both daughter and wife, is determined not to lose his granddaughter, but his drinking could seriously hamper any chance he has at keeping custody of her. As he admits to his perceptive granddaughter, “I am lost.”

Despite dealing with an important topic, the language and drug content in the film are heavy, primarily drinking and a bit of drug use. We are unable to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to “Black or White.”

Content Description

Sex: It's stated a young woman got pregnant at 17, ran away from home and died during childbirth; man mentions noticing a woman's breasts when meeting her.
Language: GD-7; G/OMG-2; J-3; F-1; S-18; H-11 (including Go to H); D-8; A-5; slang for male genitalia-1; slang for testicles-1; Crap-1; SOB-1.
Violence: A few fights and man's face is bloodied a bit; characters on the ground wrestling with each other; switchblade is pulled; man's head cut and a large coffee cup is broken over a man's head, causing some bleeding.
Drugs: Drinking in many scenes and a few characters are intoxicated; comments about drinking and about joining AA; drunken character nearly drowns in a pool; character is seen smoking "crack"; comment about man having been an addict; character is referred to as a "crack head;" character smokes and other characters look as if they might be smoking from a distance.
Nudity: Cleavage in several scenes; kids in swimsuits; shirtless man; cleavage seen as woman swims underwater; woman in a bikini.
Other: Racist attitudes with blacks and whites and some misunderstandings; man asks if another man called a man a n*gger; lots of tension and arguments between characters; the topic of death and grief and what it means to be a good parent.


Company: Relativity Media
Writer: Mike Binder
Director: Mike Binder
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 121 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter