I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too keen on seeing this movie. I went into knowing only that it was about a black butler who served in the white house for a boat load of years (from the Eisenhower administration to the Reagan administration to be exact). After taking my movie partner, my aunt, to see this movie, I think I can speak for both of us when I say we thought it was superb.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a black man who grew up on a cotton farm being a servant, and eventually making his way to the White House. As he serves, he watches as not only his country, but his family and himself go through the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and more. These events obviously have a great effect on Cecil, being an African American.
To say the cast of this film is star studded would be undermining it. The movie stars Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey (who hasn’t been in a movie in almost twenty years), David, Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Melissa Leo, Mariah Carey, AND Robin Williams. Yeah, I’d say this cast is pretty stacked.
Having come from a high school that gave me an exceptional education and having taken a course my junior year on US history, I knew very well what was going on in our country during this time. However I love watching movies like these and seeing different points of view and not just a neutral opinion from a textbook. Having said that, I did learn about some things from the civil rights movement having watched this.
The acting was superb from everyone, especially Whitaker and Winfrey. Their chemistry as husband and wife flowed like clockwork. I really do hope both of them get recognition when it comes to Oscar season.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler has a strong story that really pulls in its audience, regardless of their race. Look at me, a 20 year old suburban white boy and I still thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I love a movie that I can learn from and this film most assuredly does that.
Overall rating: 8/10
A film very much so worth seeing if you love US history and civil rights. You’ll definitely learn something, which is never a bad thing in this world. Also, one more thing: I loved the music in this film. I guess I have a soft spot for black soul music of the 60s and 70s. But like I said, It’s greatly acted and has a strong story with a positive message: Keep fighting for your rights and don’t let anyone show you direction, lead your own way.