Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, James Marsden, Alex Pettifer, Vanessa Redgrave
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Synopsis: As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, civil rights, the Vietnam war and other major events affect his life, family and American society.
This film hasn’t been hugely well received over all. It hadn’t been panned, it just seems to have met with indifference. Maybe it is because of Lee Daniels last movie, The Paperboy, being a total mess. I actually thought The Butler was pretty good.
I’m sure it doesn’t have the subtlety or emotion that 12 Years A Slave has (I’ve not seen it yet) but it has much to enjoy I think. The acting is fantastic, particularly from Forest Whitaker and, more surprisingly (although perhaps not for fans of The Colour Purple) Oprah Winfrey. She was great in this as Cecil Gains, often drunk, sometimes disloyal, but mostly loving wife. Whitaker is good in most things, and he plays this role to perfection, with empathy and quiet dignity. There is good support from the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard and Cuba Golding Jr, as well as the guy who plays Cecil’s older son.
There is just one thing about the film that I found strange. Who on earth decided on the casting of the US Presidents? John Cusack as Richard Nixon? Huh? Forest Whitaker himself looks more like Richard Nixon than John Cusack does!
Joking aside, The Butler surprised me, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s not the best film I’ve seen lately but it gets a solid