Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Butler

Happily Director Lee Daniels is out of his “sophomore slump” (The Paperboy) and has delivered a wonderful hit with The Butler.  He has been aided in great part by the splendid writing of Danny Strong, who has accomplished an incredible feat with a script that transpires over 82 years from 1926 to 2008 and keeps the audience riveted throughout.

 Five-star performances by Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines and David Oyelowo as Louis Gaines complete a trifecta in making The Butler one of the best films of the year, so far.
The film enlightens while it entertains, detailing events that stunned this viewer.  And, one of the great delights that “screening room reviewers” miss is seeing the numbers of African-American mothers and fathers, who are bringing their young children to see this movie.  I can’t imagine how shocked they must be to see what their race has suffered, especially from the ‘20s through the ‘60s.  Feeling empathy with them is a true bonus. 

There are very few faults to this film and they are only in some of the casting choices for the seven presidents Cecil serves in his term at the White House.  I would have preferred lesser known actors, who were more lookalikes. 

And the only real problem is that those who should see this film probably won’t.  It would be great if there were a mandatory screening for all members of Congress.
I give The Butler a 4+ out of 5, with the abovementioned actors getting high-5s for their performances.

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