Lee Daniels' The Butler

Rated PG-13 132 minutes 2013

Filmmaker Daniels and actors Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey tell the story of the Civil Rights era of 20th-century America, not through the eyes of brave crusaders like Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X, but in the career of a meek, well mannered black domestic named Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who served seven US Presidents and occasionally, only occasionally, witnessed history from his vantage point. Irony abounds in the screenplay by writer Danny Strong, adapted from Wil Haygood’s newspaper feature. Why bother with such a marginal figure? One reason is to set an exceptional cast of character actors loose on a big, sprawling story: Winfrey, Terrence Howard, David Oyewolo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Vanessa Redgrave, John Cusack (as Richard Nixon), Alan Rickman (Ronald Reagan), Jane Fonda (Nancy Reagan), Liev Schreiber (Lyndon Johnson), Robin Williams (Dwight D. Eisenhower), et al. The other reason is to let that irony sink in, in the expressions on the faces of Whitaker and Winfrey as the butler and his long-suffering wife, when the world changes around them. Narrowly misses being the African-American Forrest Gump, but hooray for the difference (126 min.).

Film Credits

Official Site: butlermovie.com

Director: Lee Daniels

Producer: Pamela Oas Williams, Laura Ziskin, Lee Daniels, Buddy Patrick, Cassian Elwes, Michael Finley, Sheila Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, Len Blavatnik, Aviv Giladi, Vince Holden, Hilary Shor, Adam Merims, James Bruce IV, R. Wright, Liz Destro and Jordan Kessler

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Clarence Williams III, Mariah Carey, Nelsan Ellis, Yaya Alafia, Colman Domingo, Minka Kelly, Elijah Kelley, Alex Pettyfer and Jesse Williams


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