Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie, you may not want to read this post.
I saw “The Butler” last night and loved it! The writing, directing, makeup and acting were stellar.
The movie explores the real life of Eugene Allen an African-American man who served as a butler in the White House for 34 years during the terms of eight presidents. The historical drama, written by Danny Strong and directed by Lee Daniels, offers viewers a better understanding of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and other major events in U.S. history. It features an all star cast, including Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Terrance Howard, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda, which you might not recognize because of a fabulous makeup job.
I enjoyed the movie’s exploration of relationships and human emotions.
Cecil and his son, Louis, who did not have a strong bond during his childhood because of his father’s work ethic, became estranged after Louis dropped out of college to help with the civil right’s movement. At the end of the movie, Cecil reads a book about the Freedom Riders and realizes that his son’s actions were heroic rather than radical. He joins Louis in a protest against South African apartheid and is thrown in jail with him. Both father and son, who spent many decades being ashamed of one another’s chosen occupations, earned one another’s respect by the end of the movie.
The Butler has some strong, positive portrayals of black male and female relationships. Cecil’s colleagues are depicted as having realistic marriages built on mutual love and respect. Cecil and his wife, Gloria, remain steadfast in their commitment to one another although they experience some turbulence fueled by alcoholism and jealousy along the way. By the end of the movie, the two share a loving relationship in which they grow old together.
The movie ends with Cecil meeting President Obama in the White House right after his election. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theater. Although Gloria died right before the election of the first African-American U.S. President, she was able to help with his presidential campaign and experience the possibility of him winning the race.
As with any movie, the screenwriter used creative liberty to make it more interesting and palatable to audiences. Most notably, Eugene Allen only had one son. He did not break into a pastry shop as depicted at the beginning of the movie. His wife was not an alcoholic, and she did not have an affair in real life. The portrayals of former president Ronald Reagan have also been panned by movie critics.
Even with these misrepresentations and some of the violent content in the movie, I highly recommend “The Butler” for people of all ages and races. It is a wonderful history lesson that is sure to capture any viewer’s attention. It is also a great lesson on life and the importance of forgiving one another and persevering against the odds. I plan to see the movie again with my children.
- ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler,’ movie review (nydailynews.com)
- Movie Theaters Refuse to Show Jane Fonda’s ‘The Butler’ (investorplace.com)
- ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ gets a lot of Oscar buzz and controversy (Video) (examiner.com)
- First Look at Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan in ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ (VIDEO) (news.moviefone.com)
- Are You Sitting Down?; Sit Down Entertainment Launches Interactive Screenwriter Website (prweb.com)
- Film Review – Lee Daniels’ The Butler (klinereviews.wordpress.com)
- Julie’s Review Room: ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ (kvil.cbslocal.com)
- ‘Butler’ Banned Over Fonda (foxnews.com)
- At the movies: The Butler (bermudaonion.net)
- Michael Reagan: ‘The Butler’ a ‘bunch of lies’ (politico.com)