Is it overwhelming or vague??
Lee Daniels’ The Butler is inspired by the true story of an African-American man named Cecil Gaines, who served through eight presidency at the White House. The movie follows Cecil’s life from childhood to his retirement days. Along with depicting how one man’s life changes as he goes through all the major historic changes in America.
Although my synopsis sounds cheesy, I promise you The Butler is actually not. I watched the movie because I was curious about the story, and knowing how many A-list actors in it (Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda), I said count me in.
From the beginning, I love how simple and likeable our hero is. We learned where he came from and we see how he thrived and ended working in the most important place in the world a.k.a. the White House. The movie’s selling point, obviously, is the eight presidents who Cecil served. I enjoyed this part because some of it are funny and endearing. Overlapping with it is the storyline surrounding the African-Americans’ tragedy during the period.
In my humble opinion Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey gave an outstanding performance as the lead, and I am super annoyed that neither of them were nominated for the Golden Globes 2014 (edit: and Oscar). Forest Whitaker is perfect as Cecil – an honest and hardworking man. Where else, our retired talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey, also gave a strong supporting performance as Gloria – Cecil’s loud and sometimes alcoholic wife.
Saying that, however, The Butler does suffer from one thing: it doesn’t have any conclusion or in simple terms what’s the point of making this movie? While The Butler doesn’t have any underlying subtext, I believe it does have a strong script. Lee Daniels made The Butler for the sake of telling Cecil’s unique story to us – what’s wrong with that?