Film: Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Opened: August 16, 2013

Directed by: Lee Daniels

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Elijah Kelley, Alex Pettyfer, David Banner, Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Adriane Lenox, Yaya DaCosta, Vanessa Redgrave, Clarence Williams III, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Colman Domingo, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Stephen Rider, Aml Ameen, Nelsan Ellis, Jesse Williams & Danny Strong

Witnessing two sides of history for several decades, The Butler is an important reminder of how far we’ve come, but how far we’ve got to go.

After leaving the plantation his family works on, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) is trained on serving skills. His etiquette leads him to a butler role in the White House from President Eisenhower (Robin Williams) to President Reagan (Alan Rickman).

Though a superbly talented cast, they don’t always look historically accurate. However, Oprah Winfrey shines onscreen as Cecil’s wife Gloria. Like Cecil, she goes through ups and downs over time and Winfrey knows how to make you love and despise her.

The film packs an emotional punch, but at times you feel director Lee Daniels pushing the emotions instead of letting you feel them.

Final say: Great juxtaposition between the power and the people. ★★★★☆

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