Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013): Review

Today I went and saw Lee Daniel's The Butler and it was a fantastic movie, one of the best ones I have seen in a while.  It is one that I would recommend to almost anyone especially people who live drama's and person driven stories.
Lee Daniel's The Butler follows the life of Cecil Gaines, played by Forrest Whitaker, and is very loosely based on the story of a real butler who worked in the White House for thirty four years and eight presidents.  This movie starts with Cecil as a black boy who was born on a cotton farm in the 1920s.  As a young boy he witness his father being killed by their employer and nobody care.  He is taken into the house to learn how to be a household domestic by the old white women who also lives on the cotton farm.  He leaves this cotton farm as a teenager because of the discrimination and fear for his own life.  He is able to get a job at a hotel and mentored on how to be a good server.  He gets a job in Washington DC working at a hotel, where he makes a life for himself, his  wife Gloria, played by Oprah Winfrey, and their two sons Louis, played by David Oyelowo, and Charlie.  Due to skills he is able to get a job at the White House as a butler.  The bulk of the movie, follows Cecil, as he works for the different presidents as is around while history is progress, his relationship with his wife and how there relationship ebbs and flows, and their son Louis, who becomes a Freedom Writer, follower of Martin Luther King Jr, a Black Panther, and a protester of apartheid in South Africa.  They younger son is around but not as significantly focused on.  There is a lot a strain between Cecil and Louis as their different perspectives, life experiences, and stubbornness effect how they are able to connect. Like I stated this is a movie that follows Cecil's life and occurs over a long period of time.
I really liked this movie and through that it was fantastic all around.  It has a great script, a fantastic cast, and was well paced.  It hit a lot of history points but didn't focus too much of them to take away from the character interactions and development.  It mainly focused on Cecil but juxtaposed him against his son Louis. This movie could be hard for some people because it does focus on injustice and racism, which means that the language used is in accordance with these, and some scenes may be difficult for people as it does show mistreatment during the civil rights movement, and killing of blacks with no remorse by those who did it.
I think Forrest Whitaker, Oprah, and Davis Oyelowo were fantastic in this movie and that is was very well acted.  The supporting cast was fantastic and I do not think that anyone was a weak link.
I would recommend this movie for everyone but you need to understand that some people will have difficulty with the violence and abuse that is shown and alluded to. This is definitely one of my Oscar Contender for this year, both the movie and the actors.

My Rating: 4

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