‘The Butler’- starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey
8 out of 10
By Chase L. Manson’16
During the 1960s, Th United States underwent a series of large and significant changes.
“The Butler” attempts to show just that through the eyes of an African American White House butler.
Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” is filled with a great cast of Forest Whitatker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Mariah Carey and Robin Williams.
In a summer where superhero and family films dominated the big screens it was nice to see “The Butler” offer an alternative option but still granted the same thrills.
Whitatker’s performance as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler for more than 30 years, was outstanding but not the best performance. Whitatker’s performance seemed overshadowed by Winfrey, who stole the show.
Winfrey character, the wife of Gaines wife, was relatable and enjoyable, something very difficult to do in Hollywood these days.
Winfrey acting was top notch and she should be a top contender for an Oscar award.
As Gaines’ career spans decades the set design does as well.
It was fun to see the characters in a new decade, which meant a costume change. One of my favorite scenes was in the disco era as Whitaker and Winfrey dance the night away.
“The Butler” also addressed the harsh realties on the Civil Rights movement by focusing on Gaines’ son, played by David Oyelowo, who becomes a Freedom Rider.
It was great inner turmoil for the protagonist and provides a sense of historical accuracy.
As well as the Civil Rights Movement, the 60s and 70s were home to the infamous Vietnam War.
“The Butler” addresses this and Gaines’ other son, played by Elijah Kelley, who voluntarily goes off to war and does not return.
“The Butler” is far from being flawless and something that holds this movie back is Robin Williams’ portrayal of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
While Winfrey became her character, Williams was too much Robin Williams and not Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The presidents were all somewhat of miscast as they didn’t act like the actual people, with the exception of James Marsden’s portrayal of John F. Kennedy and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan.
“The Butler” is enjoyable but in some areas underperformed.
Anyone who loves history or is a movie connoisseur would enjoy this film but the average movie goer could find it confusing still the audience will take something away, either moral or historical.