Excerpt: The film is touted as being “inspired by a true story” of Eugene Allen, who served in the White House for 34 years, but other than the fact that both Gaines and Allen are African American butlers, their life stories couldn’t be more different. Early in the film, I realized both the writer, Danny Strong, and the director had a political axe to grind, and it really pulled me out of the film.
Excerpt: You could tell me all day long how good The Butler is, but I had zero desire to see it. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but so little about it looked appealing to me. I think I just expected a heavy-handed overly dramatic message movie. After viewing the film, I admit that I appreciated its more subtle approach, but I still can’t say the film did much for me. Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines.
Conclusion: Lee Daniels' The Butler is easy to watch and kind of enjoy, but uninspired fictionalization makes it fall short of its lofty goals. It's a movie passing itself off as a film and one whose politics, story, and shallow, dizzying design are tough to digest.
Conclusion: The Butler was a surprisingly good film. It never felt heavy handed and regardless of what some are saying about it it doesn’t cater to “liberal” politics or whatever. Forrest Whitaker gives a great performance as does Oprah. Actually, everyone in their respective roles give great performances. The Blu-ray itself looks good and sounds great. The supplement section is a tad light but having all the features presented in HD certainly helps a little.
Summary: You've served your country well. There's far too much inconsistency in The Butler to elevate it to the "masterpiece" status a film of its scope, story, and powerful lead performance deserves. The film garnered as many headlines for its title as it did its content, removing some focus from the latter and placing the director's name above the former. Perhaps the film should have instead simply been renamed Nice Try .
Excerpt: Washington, DC. 1957. Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland ) is an African-American butler who works at a hotel in the nation's capital. Life in the pre-Civil Rights era is exceptionally difficult, but he's nonetheless managed to develop a reputation as a consummate professional. Cecil's life changes dramatically when he receives an invitation to begin serving at the White House, and he quickly establishes himself as a valuable staff member.
Conclusion: Although Lee Daniels' The Butler is only loosely inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, who served as White House butler during eight presidential administrations, it features strong performances by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey and a compelling dramatic arc about a father and son with differing approaches to Civil Rights advocacy. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray features acceptable picture and sound and a few bonus features.
Excerpt: Danny Strong very loosely adapted Lee Daniels' The Butler from a 2008 Washington Post article by Wil Haygood, detailing the life of Eugene Allen, a black butler who served at the White House for three decades. In the film, Allen is fictionalized as Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), whose career as a White House butler, beginning with Eisenhower, is charted through flashbacks and voiceover and framed around a meeting he waits to have with President Obama.
Conclusion: As a student of history, as well as a political junkie, I was both surprised and disappointed at how 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' turned out. I can forgive the movie for fictionalizing most of the events in Gaines family life and career for purposes of the movie (one of the reasons they didn't use Eugene Allen's real name), but what really got under my skin was how the movie portrayed its real-life historical events, as it paints almost every non-African American (including...
Excerpt: Some time shortly after the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, a number of media outlets searching for human interest stories about the meaning behind the first black president stumbled upon the story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who'd worked for seven different administrations, moving within the heart of power during the most turbulent moments of the Civil Rights era.