The Butler is a must see movie that only comes around once in a life time, and that could have only been made during the 21st Century due to some of the disturbingly accurate scenes that appear in the movie.
Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and Wil Haygood obviously took the utmost care and concern while working on The Butler because The Butler accurately describes the horrendous conditions that black Americans were forced to live under, and it also shows the disturbing mindset of the oppressive Southerners that were intent on inflicting the maximum amount of pain and suffering on the blacks that were living in the South.
No single actor could have done a better job as Cecil Gaines. Forest Whitaker brought his many struggles and triumphs to life like no other actor could have. Oprah Winfrey also did a great job while playing Gloria Gaines, who was the supportive wife of Cecil Gaines, and who also happened to have a serious drinking problem. Terrence Howard did a spectacular job as usual while playing Howard and Nelsan Ellis did a brilliant job of portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. James Marsden was the perfect John F. Kennedy and John Cusack was a convincing Richard Nixon. The entire cast of The Butler deserves a round of applause for their superb work.
The seminal scene in The Butler when Cecil Gaines loses his father was played out thousands of times while blacks were living under the conditions of slavery and thereafter, and this is why The Butler is an important piece of American history since it shows the overall cruelty of racism and slavery as well as the idiocy of those that were responsible. It also shows how the white elders were complicit in the atrocities that can only be described as human rights violations.
Young and old alike will gain valuable information about the Civil Rights movement because The Butler provides behind the scenes action that correlates to the black and white photographs and videos that most of us have seen without a full explanation of what was happening behind the scenes. The student as an instrument of change is also highlighted in the movie, which is important since nothing has ever changed without the full support of the youth.
The Black Panther Party also makes an appearance in the movie, which is important since they were also instrumental in bringing about change and in making the lives of ordinary black citizens better by providing certain community based programs that have been adopted by America. The lunch program was a Black Panther Party idea and now children all across America receive a free lunch when no one else had ever thought about providing this valuable service prior to The Black Panther Party coming on the scene and trying to make a difference in their community.
What I like most about The Butler is the fact the Cecil Gaines never gave up. He weathered the storm and eventually came to realize the importance of what his eldest son was trying to do while fighting against an oppressive system that didn't value all of its citizens. The Butler shows the vicious attitudes and the unprovoked violence that was perpetrated against the blacks and whites that were fighting for black equality. It also shows what can be accomplished when good people stand together and when they are willing to die for what they believe in. The whites that stood hand and hand with the blacks were willing to give their lives, so their black brothers and sisters could be free which is exactly what the movie shows.
The many goings and comings of the White House are also highlighted during the movie as well as the contrasting personalities of the past Presidents. The unwillingness to participate in war is also shown during the movie as well as Dr. King’s last moments on earth and his courageous stance on the Vietnam War, which many still believe to this very day was the real reason that he was killed since war is big business.
I recommend that you see The Butler because it provides a piece of American history that shouldn't be forgotten or repeated because what happened to black Americans is a stain that shall forever remain on the collective human soul.
The Butler was reviewed on August 20, 2013.