Lee Daniels' The Butler [Blu-ray Combo]
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It is important to emphasize that in spite of the impression the promotions for The Butler give, this film is in fact fiction. It is supposedly based on the life of a real-life White House butler named Eugene Allen, but other than the fact that Forrest Whitaker's character - a butler named Cecil Gaines - works at the White House for over three decades - almost nothing that happens in the film had anything to do with Allen's actual life.
Besides Whitaker's stand-out performance, the supporting cast are quite good as well, from Oprah Winfrey as Gaines' much put-upon boozed-up wife to Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as Cecil's fellow staffers and Terrence Howard as a somewhat too familiar neighbor. David Oyelowo does a creditable job as Cecil's elder son, Louis, who takes the audience through almost every aspect of the black civil rights' experience, from joining the Freedom Riders and participating in sit-in protests at segregated diners to the later Black Panther movement and later still into the rising of black candidates for political office.Read more ›
For those interested he didn't have a mom that was raped, he didn't have a dad that was murdered, he didn't run away and steal to survive, he didn't even grow up in GA or live in NC. He grew up in VA in a nice house and voluntarily left under normal circumstance to seek better employment. His wife didn't cheat or drink. He had no son that joined the Freedom Riders or was in the Civil Rights movement. He did actually have ONE son but he did not die in Vietnam. I think about the only thing that is true about this movie is that he was a butler in the White House. Everything else is completely fabricated.
I found nothing honest, accurate or redeeming about the juvenile morality play or the mindless and empty depiction of blacks as cardboard cutouts in this movie. The characters were syrupy one-dimensional stereotypes of Lee Daniel's original story: literally cardboard cutouts of a past era with a "pasted-on" or "painted-in" plastic and false black humanity.
As always, it shows blacks as little more than spineless troglodytes, with a "second hand, hand-me-down humanity, shuffling around the White House and around white America, mostly at night -- either humming religious hymns through fake piety, or raising hell and "cutting up?" Like the slave images only these movie makers limited imaginations can come up with, there are no normal blacks or normal black families: just dysfunctional one that adhere closely to the stereotypical American story line. God forbid that the moviemakers could one day do enough research to get the basic facts of black life correct for just once instead of leaning on old stereotypes?
However, since "Auntie Oprah" was involved, (and not a bad piece of acting on her part) how could we have expected anything more? She has made a "cottage industry" out of "milking" the last ounce of the "bent over whining, and shuffling humanity" of the "Old Black Joe" and "mammy" tropes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie and a keepsake for the generations coming behind us. To know and appreciate the work mankind did for our freedom and access.Published 4 days ago by Jennifer Simms
This was an excellent movie. I am 80 years old and lived through all of these times. The movie is very authentic as to the happenings in the civil rights movement.Published 11 days ago by Mary L. Schmidt