Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Lee Daniels 1Lee Daniels’ the Butler is the story of a White House butler Cecil Gaines who served eight American presidents over three decades from 1957 to 1986. It traces the dramatic changes that swept American society from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond. It shows how those changes affected the butler’s life and his family.

Cecil Gaines story is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who died in 2010. Cecil Gaines life spans his boyhood in the brutally segregated South to the election of President Barak Obama. His wife, Gloria stands by him through all the tumult; from the Freedom Rides and the assassinations and race riots. Lee Daniels 2

On the home front, his wife Gloria is battling alcohol addiction and his son Louis looks at his father as an Uncle Tom for serving in the White House and becomes radicalized in the Black Power movement.

Lee Daniels 3The movie is powerful with the plot blended with snapshots of American history and it’s presidents. The main actors and actresses did their job in the acting department and the movie is well-paced. It featured enough comic scenes which balanced out some of the violent scenes which is tough to watch.

The movie is named after the director Lee Daniels not to play to the director’s ego, but to settle a title challenge from Warner Bros which helped the film generate word of mouth and people went to see it.

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It is well recommended and it is one of the films that you must see this year. It is Oscar awards worthy.

Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines and directed by Lee Daniels.

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21 Responses to Lee Daniels’ The Butler

  1. t lerner says:

    Poor Oprah got no nomination from the Oscars.

  2. NY Gal says:

    Too bad Oprah got snubbed by the Golden Globe awards, she did a good acting job though.

    • farrahofIL says:

      I totally agree it is a snub by the Golden Globes but who knows she will be nominated at the Oscars, go Oprah!

  3. Alba Mcmahon says:

    The film is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, an African-American butler who served eight different presidents over the course of a 34-year career. Allen’s story is one of servitude set against the backdrop of years of political change, and it represents the unique view that black service workers have had at the White House since its construction. In the book “The Black History of the White House,” American University history professor Clarence Lusane outlines some of this story. From the hundreds of black enslaved workers who helped build the White House to the countless others who have toiled over the years in its back rooms and kitchens, Lusane lifts up the veil on decades of untold history. I spoke to Lusane about why this moment is an important one.

  4. get smart says:

    The butler’s backstory The film opens with young Cecil in Macon, Georgia, in the 1920s, working in a cotton field alongside his father. His mother (Mariah Carey) is raped by a white plantation overseer, Thomas Westfall (Alex Pettyfer), loud enough for everyone to hear. When Westfall returns, Cecil’s father shows his anger, and Westfall shoots him dead in front of Cecil and the other plantation workers. The plantation matriarch (Vanessa Redgrave) then decides that Cecil should leave the fields to become a “house nigger” and learn to serve her family.

  5. beach girl says:

    This is one sad movie, really very sad.

  6. Andrew says:

    What a downer movie, you need to see something funny after watching this movie good acting though.

  7. k baker says:

    Very intense movie but it is very slow specially the first half hour.

  8. j leoni says:

    Lots of good performances worthy of Oscar nomination.

  9. A Ryder says:

    Way too many recognizable actors that took away from the movie. It would have been better with less recognizable actors. And Oprah?

  10. M Skelton says:

    This movie is dull and uninspiring. Cinematography is too dark and custome design looks very cheap. Critics liked it only because of the recognizable actors.

  11. Clara says:

    The film was good but it could have been better. The pacing is very slow specially the first 30 minutes but it finally picked up at the last third of the film.

  12. martina says:

    Great movie, good story and characterization. I like it.

  13. Martina B says:

    Oprah girl does not look very good, she looks good only with make up on.

  14. Claudia says:

    Oprah doesn’t need to be in the movies, she should give these kinds of movie roles to other African American women to give them some chance.

  15. Dana says:

    What’s not to like? Great performances by great actors. It is very entertaining.

  16. maribeth says:

    A strong cast and an amazing story of how a black person was able to serve at the White House for almost 3 decades while at the same time trying to support his eldest son for fighting for civil rights.

  17. joe a says:

    Good job for Ms. Oprah, she did a good acting job.

  18. leslie says:

    Strong performance from Forest Whitaker and Oprah and holds this already great movie. An inspiring story and very well performed from all the actors and actresses.

  19. kenneth says:

    It has great script and acting, everyone was very strong. Not that Black oppression no longer exist, but from the 60’s and 70’s footage shown in the film, it will leave me with sadnes. It is phenomenal but tough to watch.

  20. Marie says:

    What a wonderful, powerful film! The screenplay managed to tell an intimate, personal tale while the huge drama of America’s civil rights confrontations and spins them in many directions.

    Love this movie, a must to see this year.

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