Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lee Daniels' The Butler


Part of History

8.0 out of 10 | DVD

Rated: PG-13 Thematic elements, sexual material, language, disturbing images, smoking and some violence
Release Date: August 16, 2013
Runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes

Director: Lee Daniels
Writers: Danny Strong, from an article by Wil Haygood
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Mariah Carey, Vanessa Redgrave, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman

SYNOPSIS: An African-American's eyewitness accounts of notable events of the 20th century during his tenure as a White House butler.

REVIEW: Precious director Lee Daniels tackles desegregation, the Civil Rights movement, and the election of the nation's first black president from the point of view of a cotton picker-turned-White House butler, his wife, and children. Written by Danny Strong (Game Change) from the article "A Bulter Served By This Election" written by Wil Haygood.

Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker, The Last Stand) finds himself alone after the death of his father and the growing instability of his mother (Mariah Carey, Precious). Taken in by a kindly plantation owner widow (Vanessa Redgrave, Anonymous), Cecil is taken away from the cotton fields and raised to serve in the house. After several years as a butler, Cecil leaves the plantation and finds work as a server in a hotel in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1955, Cecil is invited to work as a butler in the nation's White House under the Eisenhower (Robin Williams, The Big Wedding) administration. As desegregation issues and Civil Rights become more important to the minorities of America, Cecil finds himself a fly on the wall of several presidents' administration, including Kennedy (James Marsden, Straw Dogs), Johnson (Liev Schreiber, The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Nixon (John Cusack, The Raven), and Reagan (Alan Rickman, Harry Potter series). At the same time as Cecil is privy to the inner sanctum and inner dialogues of the nations political machine, he finds he is unable to relate to a wife (Oprah Winfrey, The Princess and the Frog) and his oldest son Louis (David Oyelowo, Jack Reacher) who strives to become a part of the civil rights movement.

In the 1920s in Macon, Georgia young Cecil work's alongside his father and mother in the fields. Tragedy alone allowed Cecil to learn more than he would have and allow him the ability to venture out prepared into a harsh world. Raised and conditioned to be neither seen nor heard other than to serve Whitaker's Cecil slowly ascends to be pristine position in the presidental White House.

Based on a true story of real White House butler Cecil Gaines, the story revolves around his duties and his family who serve as a backdrop to the trials and tribulations of the decades of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even the new millennium where African-Americans suffer under segregation as second-class citizens. Cecil shows the audience firsthand what he had to show is his career, his home life, and the politics that he claims he doesn't take part in. Cecil gives the utmost importance to his job, leaving behind his family to struggle through the times for themselves. His wife turns to alcohol-filled infidelity to fill the void that Cecil leaves behind. By trying to make a life better for his family by doing what he was trained to do, Cecil finds that he's unable to relate to his educated and civic-minded son Louis.

The director Lee Daniels puts together all-star cast for this film. Whitaker is no stranger to fine drama. He was riveting in The Last King of Scotland. Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, and Cuba Gooding Jr.  dig into their roles with passion. Robin Williams, James Marsden, 
Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, and Alan Rickman all add their own personal spin on their individual roles as President.

This film, in a little over two hours, tries to balance political evolution with the personal impact that decisions had on the nation's African-American population. There is a lot to experience with over almost 80 year of American history to follow, and Lee Daniels' The Butler serves it well.

No comments:

Post a Comment