The picture has plenty of star power with the likes of Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, John Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave and Terrence Howard to name a few, but the stars of this picture are Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo as members of the Gaines family.
The movie revolves around telling the story Cecil Gaines (Whitaker), who is based on Eugene Allen, who served eight presidential terms during his tenure as an esteemed butler at the White House. It’s quite historical watching the picture from the point of view of Gaines who witnesses some incredible moments in
From the destruction of segregation laws, to the death of President Kennedy to the Civil Rights Movement, events that not only polarized
One strong facet of the picture is the racial overtones which will unnerve viewers a bit. With the recent outcry of racism this summer from the Paula Deen debacle, to the antics inside the “Big Brother 15” house, it’s obvious that racism is still a touchy subject that Americans are still grappling with. This picture forces us to open a debate about it by taking the audience back to a time period when it was at a fever high.
Winfrey is a revelation as Gloria, the stand by her man matriarch who grapples with alcoholism. She’s stern, blunt, yet conflicted. It’s a role that when I reflect, I couldn’t’ see anyone else portraying the character, but Winfrey. That moment where she scolds her son for degrading his father for his job as a ‘butler’ is haunting. It makes you reflect on your current job and how so many of us are defined by titles and how those titles are quite prevalent in today’s society. Your title matters much more than what it is that you actually do, which is scary. What message are we sending to our youth?
Whitaker delivers such a poised performance where he commands every single frame that he appears in. It’s difficult to steer a picture where the title character rarely lets his emotions go, but Whitaker does so with precise care. His home life is tumultuous compared to the pristine lifestyle he sees on a daily basis at The White House.
Seeing the butler who served so many being invited back to the very place he worked to be greeted by the first African-American president is quite a highlight to say the least. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is indeed a tale audiences should see.
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