The Butler – Directed by Lee Daniels
Here’s a movie that definitely has it’s shirt on – a tuxedo in fact and wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve/ It’s the very earnestly told story of Eugene Allen – a Black Butler in the White House who worked for 34 years under 8 presidents.
In the film version of this true story Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines – based on Allen, and his wife is played by Oprah Winfrey.
The casting is absolutely phenomenal .
Giles Hardie wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald that m,any of this years biopics sucked because they didn’t have a story arc – this one has two – the fight for civil rights in the US and the struggle within a family t about how to achieve those rights.
And the premise – that as a child who saw his father killed on the cotton plantation through the tumultuous 20th century fight for civil rights all the way to Barack Obama becoming elected, this is an incredible breadth of a lifetime to attempt to commit to one 2 hour film.
I wanted to LOVE the movie – I did really like it, but there is a convenience and clunkiness in the executuion of this incredible story that at times jolted me out of the world they had created.
It is definitely a must see, but it’s also a very American story of politics and policies and most of all segregation which is something most of us have only seen in the movies – but to see the sheer ugliness of it and the different ways subsequent generations tried to change the status quo is utterely fascinating.
3 & 1/2.