Now I want to start by saying this film has an impressive cast – although that never means to say that it will be a great film – but this film was good. With it directed by Lee Daniels (Precious and The Paperboy), you get a sense of what the film will be like – not to mention there are few actors he has worked with before that are in this film. Forest Whitaker stars brilliantly as Cecil Gaines, the man who started as a boy who suffered a lot to becoming one of the finest butlers who works in the White House for 8 presidents. The film focuses on his life at the White House and his life back at his actual home with his family; his wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey), and his two sons Louis (David Oyelowo) and Charlie (Elijah Kelley).
What grabs the film is that it picks up and informs you with what is happening in America whilst Gaines is serving a certain President. Although what can be disappointing is that because the film looks so many Presidents – and despite there is that slight moment with each of President that you see them individually connect with Gaines – you want to witness more and feel the friendship and how everyone loved him; Robin Williams was only in the film for like four scenes and was then was replaced by the next President (James Marsden). Although, you have to bear in mind the film is just over 2 hours long so to show more time with the presidents may be stretching it.
Whilst Cecil Gaines believes if he does his job overtime things will get better for everyone in America, his eldest son Louis goes down to the South to fight for his equal rights. The film shows really well the father and son slowly slipping away yet and eventually come back together when things in the lives turn. There was a moment when the younger son, Charlie, is at the police station to meet Louis and when he tells Louis that he is off to Vietnam and his brother objects, Charlie says to Louis you are fighting with our country and I am fighting for our country – they both want the same thing yet are totally going about it different ways.
The cast is amazing (such as Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Lenny Kravitz and Cuba Gooding Jr.) – yes even those that are only in it for two minutes – and the film is a great drama that not just highlights what happened in America for so many decades but it also shows what it was like for those that had to suffer and want equal rights. There are laughs and shocks – not the made-you-jump shocks but the shock of how people were treated back when times in America were tough – and there are happy and sad moments (especially at the end) and overall the film is great.
REVIEW: The Butler (Lee Daniels’ The Butler): 6.8/10