Black Days [2005]

A black writer (Harold Perrineau, the poet in the spinning wheelchair in the HBO series Oz) is asked by his white girlfriend to give a speech about race at the racially mixed high school where she teaches. In preparation, he talks to a black friend but does the majority of the brainstorming for the speech with a white friend. Meanwhile, two black women talk sexual politics in a café, a white cabby asks out a black woman, the racist white principal confronts the white teacher about her black students, and the white friend goes to his corporate job where the topic of affirmative action comes up. In this play on film, everybody seems to be talking about race. Specifically, they're all talking about black-white issues, only giving lip service to other groups such as Asians, Latinos, gays, and women. Set in a city as ethnically diverse as New York, the limited scope of the script is disappointing. Many of the arguments have been done to death in previous films (who's allowed to use the term "nigger"?), and the movie tries so hard to be even-handed that it just becomes boring, particularly because it only wants to raise the issues and "start a dialogue." The thing that's good about it is the fact that, as a collection of race arguments of the '80s and '90s, A Day in Black and White will work best 20 years from now as a museum piece or a document for academic study. --Andy Spletzer

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