Friday, August 16, 2013

Lee Daniel's The Butler with Forrest Whitaker and OPRAH is here!

Movies Reviews

Lee Daniels’ The Butler - Movie Review

By Anne Brodie Aug 16, 2013, 0:28 GMT
Based on the true-life story of Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as a White House butler, serving eight presidents from 1952 to 1986.
Based on the true-life story of Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as a White House butler, serving eightpresidents from 1952 to 1986. ...more
An uneducated cotton slave’s son witnesses his father’s casual execution by a white boss who just raped his mother. Some start for a film about a poor black boy who becomes butler to some of the most important figures in world history, eight presidents, in the White House. True story.
Our young hero Cecil Gaines (played as an adult by Forest Whittaker) is taken inside the plantation mansion to become a house slave and finds his niche. Dedication, training and natural grace give him an advantage and he is hired to work at an exclusive Washington hotel. A White House staffer witnesses his tremendous patience and eloquence dealing with racist customers and offers him a job at the most exclusive club of all, the White House. He will be a presidential butler.
Cecil’s wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) isn’t easily impressed and takes to the bottle and a handsome neighbor while her husband spends long hours at the president’s side. Their sons are chalk and cheese, the eldest a born rebel and the younger, conservative and eager to please. The contrast between home and work is deep. Gaines occupies two worlds, both with some discomfort but he stays on the jobs until old age.
His is a bird’s eye view of world events and the people who shaped them, as he soundlessly serves tea to the president and his visitors. He is trained not to listen and not to react to conversations and never to be political. Gaines follows the rules until his rebellious son Louis sets out to change the world in the pre-civil rights era American south.
As luck would have it, Louis rises through the ranks of the movement and sees history up close too. He rides the ill-fated Freedom Bus that was ignited by the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia, stages diner sit in protests, marches and speaks, eventually joining the Black Panther movement and supporting Martin Luther King in the days preceding the assassination. Meanwhile his father is bowing and serving tea to white politicians deciding policy on civil rights.
It’s a fascinating story but The Butler is more conventional than might be expected coming from Daniels. It is such a reverent study that the meat and gristle Daniels so often serves is missed. It would be unremarkable save for significant lead performances and this interesting true story of a man who served as a White House butler for 34 years while the world changed inside and out.
Daniels pulls out the stars in what feels like an MGM Parade show. Alongside Forrest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey in the lead roles are Mariah Carey, David Oyelowo, Lenny Kravitz, Vanessa Redgrave, Clarence Williams III, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Jane Fonda, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Yaya DaCosta, Alex Pettyfer, and Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Wow.
Daniels has a gift for gathering in big stars for this films Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey starred in The Paper Boy and Precious, his startlingly vivid landmark film featured a bravura performances by Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique.
Kevin Bacon and Michael Shannon were brilliant in The Woodsman and Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger made magic ion Monsters’ Ball. Daniels is able to connect with his actors in an unusually effective way. The Butler carries on the tradition.
35mm drama
Written by Danny Strong, based on an article by Will Haygood 
Directed by Lee Daniels
Opens: August 16
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking
Country: USA
Language: English

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