A Day in Black and White

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Desmond Hall

REVIEWED: 03-29-99

A young black speechwriter grapples with what to include in a speech on race relations, so he recruits a white friend for his input. Their discussion grows more and more heated as they turn their observations toward each other while trying to steer clear of the usual clichés. The thread of race relations is woven into their conversation and makes its influence felt during the discussion of such diverse topics as conspiracy theories; the rock vs. disco controversy: Which sucks more?; the mysterious disappearance of MC Hammer, affirmative action, and white cab drivers; "the black quarterback issue"; and The Cosby Show's Dr. Huxtable. By keeping the debate grounded in such terms, A Day in Black and White manages to find fresh approaches to a very serious subject, never dipping into obviousness or shopworn rhetoric. Only on occasion does the script begin to sound a bit contrived, and those instances are compensated by intelligent characterizations and dead-on direction. It's a rare film that can take such an overheated subject and treat it in a witty, entertaining way, thought-provoking without being inflammatory.

--Jerry Renshaw

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