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‘Black Or White’ Review Roundup: Worthy Of The Buzz?

Fri, January 30, 2015 9:42am EDT by Add first Comment

With an A-list cast headed by Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner, ‘Black Or White’ is one of the season’s much buzzed about films. Well, the reviews are in– does it live up to the hype?

In keeping with its title, it seems that most critics are divided that Black Or White, which hits theaters on Jan. 30, is either good or bad– though there are some notable exceptions. Check out the reviews right here!

‘Black Or White’ Reviews: Do Kevin Costner & Octavia Spencer Deliver?

Another Friday, another winter weekend with time to kill indoors. But do you want to spend your precious hours with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer in Black Or White? We’ve rounded up the reviews to help you decide!

A.V. Club

In Mike Binder’s Black Or White, every moment is big, even the small ones, and [Jazz musician TerenceBlanchard seems to have been brought in to assure that only the severely hard of hearing will miss how damn emotional this all is… Binder, who once made lowbrow comedies but now specializes in middlebrow dramedies, is in several leagues over his head with this story of a custody battle between a white grandfather and a black grandmother.


New York Times

Buoyed by excellent performances from a cast led by Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, it tells a personal story loosely based on events in Mike Binder’s own family history. Its characters, both black and white, want to transcend their differences and do the right thing. As I watched this timid but honorable two-hour film, much of which is set in a courtroom, I feared that its hostilities might resolve in feel-good hugs and teary-eyed apologies. They don’t … quite, in a movie that wants to reassure while avoiding sentimentality.


Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer deliver fine performances in Black Or White, a riveting drama on race and family… The film made a late run at awards consideration in December after it was picked up weeks after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. That awards bid came up short, but the film nonetheless deserves lots of attention from audiences when it opens wide this week.

New York Post

Despite excellent performances by Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer and other cast members, Mike Binder’s racially tinged custody battle drama “Black or White” never achieves much in the way of dramatic credibility. Costner (who reportedly paid for the movie out of his own pocket) and Binder (who previously directed Costner in “The Upside of Anger’’) seem to think they’re making a profound statement about race relations in “Black or White.” Alas, it’s more like an incoherent one.

Indie Wire

Is it any wonder that a movie as lazily titled as “Black or White” fails to actually tackle issues of race and class in any meaningful way? Is it any wonder, when its writer and director is Mike Binder, a (white) filmmaker whose approach to storytelling has often lacked any semblance of nuance and subtlety?… It’s a fairly intriguing premise, but one that must be handled delicately in order to work. Here, it doesn’t.

So HollywoodLifers, now that you’ve read the reviews, will you see the film yourself?

— Casey Mink