177 of 218 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Biopic of a White House Butler,
This review is from: Lee Daniels' The Butler (DVD)
THE BUTLER is a film which, for all its sentimental tone, nonetheless addresses the fundamental issue of civil rights, and whether the reforms of the Sixties have actually had the desired effect. It centers on the life of Cecil Gaines (Forrest Whitaker), who grew up on a plantation but spent most of his career in service at the White House. To his son Louis (David Oyelowo), Cecil is nothing more than a representative of "Uncle Tom" culture, spending his life in willing thrall to the white man. On the other hand Cecil manages to provide for his family and carve out a career; it is only late on in his life, when President Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman) offers him an opportunity to savor something that he has never previously experience, that he understands how little his masters have changed, ideologically speaking, since the days of racial segregation. This is the film's "aha-moment" - from then on Gaines devotes himself to the cause of equal rights. THE BUTLER brings out the ambiguities of the African American experience; how Gaines' life might be regarded as a form of "liberation," despite working for a succession of white Presidents; and how the Civil Rights cause (as symbolized by the Black Panther movement of the Sixties and Seventies) might not have necessarily aided the African American experience. The film contains a clutch of memorable performances: Oprah Winfrey is quite admirable as Gaines' wife Gloria, supported by Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., in supporting roles. Whitaker is quite simply brilliant in the title role; he ages gracefully while always sustaining his self-respect. If he does not get Oscar-nominated for his performance, I'd be extremely surprised. A memorable cinematic experience.
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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2014 8:12:24 PM PST
This is one of the most well-written movie reviews I have read! It's concise but hits all the important high points and conveys the essence of the film. Articulate yet not a self-aggrandizing book! This reviewer should be top 100! Cheers. :)
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2014 12:33:48 AM PST
Dr. Laurence Raw says:
Thanks so much for your comments; they are much appreciated
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2014 7:20:21 AM PST
Dr Laurence Raw, you have written a GREAT review, but you seem to have a negetive image of Uncle Tom. African Americans among others have been brain washed into thinking Uncle Tom was a butt kisser, Uncle Tom was NOT this image that was engraved into our minds. Uncle Tom was A PROUD BLACK MAN!!! Read Uncle Toms Cabin.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2014 1:03:56 PM PST
So does this mean his review was not accurate?
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2014 4:54:23 PM PST
The only inaccuracy is the comment about Uncle Tom. As I stated in the first line '' Dr. Laurence Raw, you have written a GREAT review''
Posted on Jan 21, 2014 7:26:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 21, 2014 7:34:31 PM PST
steve cochrane says:
I hope you realize that this is hollywood not real life, this movie has as much historical accuracy as the wizard of oz. American history is not a howard zinn fantasy, to say that black people are not better of now than they were in the sixties shows an incredible lack of perspactive on your part doctor. Harvey Weinstein took some real liberties with the truth in this film.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2014 4:49:24 AM PST
Dr. Laurence Raw says:
Many thanks for your comments, Steve. I thought I actually said that in my review when I said that despite the reforms, the African-American experience of daily life might not necessarily have improved in the period covered by the film.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2014 1:04:02 PM PST
This movie is based on a true story. Not like the Wizard of Oz.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2014 6:02:38 AM PST
Charles R. Williams says:
The question is does the movie give a true picture of Ronald Reagan and does it give a true picture of race relations thirty years ago or is there a political agenda that is being served. A movie based on a true story can be false and pure fiction can serve the truth.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2014 7:22:23 AM PST
THE TRUTH ABOUT RONALD REAGON IS, HE WAS A RACIST!!!