Monday, August 19, 2013
Lee Daniels' The Butler Review
Perhaps The Butler is closer to historical fiction, but it's still a great look at the civil rights movement. The movie is about a butler named Cecil Gaines who serves as a butler in the White House for eight different presidents spanning from the 1950's to the 1980's. Now this movie is based on a true story, but the real butler's name is Eugene Allen, so that's why I am going to play it safe and say that certain elements may be a bit fictionalized because I really don't know how accurate to this family's story it is.
That aside, the Civil Rights movement was a tough part of history and it's hard to portray that whole period in one movie, but I'd say The Butler does a pretty good job and tells the story from an interesting angle. While Cecil is working in the White House, his son Louis graduates High School and moves down south, becoming fully involved in the Civil Rights movement and the movie gets quite intense as we move forward through the 60's, touching on various aspects like the restaurant sit-ins, the freedom riders, the KKK, the martyrdom of Martin Luther King Jr., and the black panthers. Cecil and his wife Gloria become really nervous as all they are seeing is that their son is constantly putting his life on the line and getting thrown in jail multiple times and as concerned parents this really upsets them. On top of this, their other son Charlie decides to go fight for his country in Vietnam and through all this you really feel for all the people that had to go stuff like this. Love or hate Barak Obama, but the fact we now have a black president means that we as a country have come a long way and there are a lot of people we should be considering heroes from the 60's that got us to the point where we are now.
In conclusion, if you like historical dramas like Lincoln, Amazing Grace, The King's Speech, and Luther, I would definitely recommend that you give this movie a shot. It may not be the best one ever made and may not get a ton of respect from the Oscars, but it does a great job at doing what it was made to do and that would be to give us as the audience a greater appreciation for the people that were involved in the civil rights movement. It's beautiful and inspiring. Definitely worth your money. I give Lee Daniels' The Butler a 9 out of 10.