REVIEW: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Director Lee Daniels’ new film “The Butler” hits theaters nationwide today (August 16th) and critics are already mentioning it as a major contender for the Academy Awards.



“The Butler” doesn’t necessarily evoke the idea of a spirited action flick or comedic work – but fans of those genres will be pleasantly surprised to see Daniel maneuver both elements into his two hour film that focuses on the contrasting tales of the civil right movement through the eyes of a father and son.

“The Butler” focus on the heroic figure of Cecil Gaines (played by Forrest Whitiker), whose life story is the center of the film. He is the butler to seven presidents, beginning with President Eisenhower (Robin Williams) and ending with President Reagan (Alan Rickman), and his journey and struggle are his story line – from the plantation where his father died and he subsequently ran away, to his life’s work and  the struggle at home with his wayward/prodigal son Louis (David Oyelowo) to his alcoholic and secretly cheating wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey).

While the film does have it’s awkward moments and obvious overlooks, such as a talking parrot and historical inaccuracies, the film hits home with a moving story and narrative that screams Oscar nominations for Whitaker, Winfrey, Daniels and screenwriter Danny Strong.


Independently filmed and based on the real-life account of Eugene Allen, butler to seven presidents, Daniels and Strong manage to assemble a highly creative and emotional drama that offers an historical account of the tumultuous time during the civil right movement and its various leaders. Thankfully, the harsh reality of the era isn’t lightened of simplified, it’s real, gritty and unapologetic.

Overall the film finds ways to grip you even if you are not invested in the history lesson.

“You hear nothing. You see nothing. You only serve.”

And from this film, such lessons are apparent until the very end where the father and son – reconcile and progress is made through their eyes as they see the first black president.

MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 2 hours and 6 minutes.

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  • wickedjones

    it beats shining shoes… yessah boss.

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  • Cye B

    Bad Message in this movie. Straight up. Basically the message was BLACKS you can’t fight the system.. but if you go along and say yessir you can overcome racism.

    • ccwaterbound32

      that’s what i got from it…

  • Hovah

    dont know why they bagged the love scene with T- Howard n Oprah

  • Freezamon

    From The executive producing Jews that brought you..The Help… now brings to you another tale of black servitude called ..The Butler….Look out for the next movie called ..The Nigger…with Morgan Freeman an Lil Wayne’s acting debut. I mean why all these movies that destroys the black mans spirit and image (Training Day) are Oscar worthy and movies that shows the Black man’s strength (Malcolm X) are not even acknowledged.

  • Lord Saltsworth McGinty III

    “and from this film, such lessons are apparent until the very end where
    the father and son – reconcile and progress is made through their eyes
    as they see the first black president.

    They then realize that a black man can be a puppet for the oligarchs and large corporations just as good or even better than a white man could.

  • benigno

    Where should I start in reviewing this pile of lies that most people will accept as facts.First, there never was a son named Louis. Eugene Allen the real name of “the butler” had only one son. He did serve in Viet Nam but was not killed. He returned home safely. His father was not killed on a plantation. The fact of the matter is that he stated they enjoyed there time there, he simply left to find a better job. He never broke into a bakery and stole food and met a so called benefactor. He initiated contact with the Whitehouse not the other way around. He began as a pantry worker in the Whitehouse and didn’t become a butler untill years later. He began his tenure under president Truman not president Eisenhower. It was president Eisenhower who initiated his raise in salary. Another raise was given to him by president Carter. He and his wife were thrilled to attend the state dinner given by president Regan. From all historical facts, Mr. Allen and the Regans had a very cordial relationship.

    This film is simply a political statement about the civil rights struggle and has little to do with Mr. Allen. Why would his son approve such a pack of lies? Further why would Lee Daniels put this fabrication on the screen?