White Water

Set in a small Alabama town during the last days of the segregation era, this family film centers on a seven-year-old black boy who’s determined to taste the water from a whites-only drinking fountain. Screenwriters Michael S. Brady and Eric Stein, adapting their children’s book, follow the boy through several small-time adventures, during which he finds out about R&B, the Ku Klux Klan, and the extramarital affairs of his low-down saxophonist father (Larenz Tate). Adults will likely find this sentimental and overplayed, but it feels well suited for grade schoolers, delivering straightforward lessons about the history of American race relations and making them palatable to young viewers with genial humor and folksy, conversational narration. Rusty Cundieff directed; with Sharon Leal and Barry Shabaka Henley.