Lee Daniel’s the Butler (2013)


run time: 132 mins
rated: 14A
considered: Biography, Drama
starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Terrance Howard, David Oyelowo, Issac White, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman

movie summary: As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man’s life, family, and American society. (www.imdb.com)

my thoughts: Forest Whitaker stars at Cecil Gaines, one of the most respected butlers ever to work in the White House. Gaines grew up in the south during the 1920’s and witnesses his father’s murder in the cotton fields. The plantation owner takes him and trains him to be a servant. When he turns 18, he decides to head north to be a free man, where he lands a job at one of the best hotels in Washington, DC. One of the head White House Staff members recruit him and offer him a job at the White House during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration in 1957.

In his private life, Gaines is married to Gloria (Orpah Winfrey) and has two boys, Louis and Charlie. He spends more hours at the White House then he does at home, loses touch with his two sons, and avoids Gloria’s heavy drinking problem. After high school, his oldest son Louis (David Oyelowo) goes to college in the south, joins the Civil Rights movement, and gets arrested all the time. Gaines, who doesn’t really care about politics, struggles for two decades working for four presidents, dealing with a broken marriage, his son’s involvement in the growing Civil Rights movement, and the war in Vietnam that claims his other son. In the 1980’s under President Ronald Reagan, Gaines finally realizes he has devoted his whole life to the wrong things, then sets out to be a better father and husband.

This movie depicts an amazing story of a black family’s struggles during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s – 1970’s. Whitaker is perfect for the part of Cecil Gaines, because he is nice and loveable. Despite his personal demons, people will want him to succeed and overcome the racial boundaries.

my star rating: 6 out 10

3 thoughts on “Lee Daniel’s the Butler (2013)

  1. Nice review. It definitely is like two films placed into one, except one’s more interesting than the other. That said, it’s still worth the watch, if mainly for the impressive performances on-display here.

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