Lee 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.
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.
The 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.
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.