Saturday, 15 March 2014

Lee Daniels' The Butler Movie Review

Lee Daniel's The Butler Movie Review, Rating, Trailer, Photos

Director: Lee Daniels

UK Release Date: 15th November 2013

Running Time: 132 minutes 

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is a film that is based very roughly on the life of Eugene Allen, who was a butler in the White House for 34 years.  The film is not a complete recreation of his life however and certain facts are changed for the story of the film which ultimately servers a different purpose rather than just telling the life of the main character Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker).  

Cecil's life starts off like many African-American children's did in the early 1900's - on a cotton farm in the South as a slave.  Working on the fields with his mother and father until his circumstances change he becomes a slave working in the house.  Following his progress from slave to White House butler, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement in America and ultimately shows the history of the Movement up until Barack Obama becomes President in 2008. 

Movie review, trailer, photos and rating of Lee Daniels' The Butler

Starring one of the largest well known cast of recent times, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" features representations of real historical figures such as Martin Luther King (Nelsan Ellis), Dwight D. Eisenhower (Robin Williams), Richard Nixon (John Cusack) and Lyndon B. Johnson (Lieve Schreiber).  The majority of characters are played by well known actors or musicians but the question remains as to why?  Mariah Carey plays Cecil's mother, but is seen on screen for no longer than a minute. The huge well known cast list is strange considering that most of them only hold small parts within the film.  The point here is that using these actors in small roles works in a negative way for the film as not one of them has enough time on screen to influence the movie in any specific way.  

The slow paced nature to the film helps incredibly in understanding everything that is going on but falls down in terms of providing the details that a topic of this nature deserves.  The movie highlights the key points during the Civil Rights Movement but rarely goes further than acknowledging the basic facts.  This is disappointing as the film neglects staying true to the portrayal of Eugene Allen's real life and does not justify this in its basic step by step guide of the Civil Rights Movement.  "Lee Daniel's The Butler" glosses over many important historical moments and events which if developed further could have really made an impact to the storyline of the film.

Lee Daniels' The Butler film review

The main highlight of the film is the delightful performance provided by Forest Whitaker.  Potentially the best acting performance of his career to date, Whitaker, is sublime as Cecil Gaines.  He is able to draw in the audience to his character who is easy to relate to and is  powerful in his own humbling way.  His loose portrayal of Eugene Allen is both intriguing and is perfect in keeping the audience engaged throughout the whole film.

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is an interesting movie than is more informative than anything else.  It offers a good basic account of the key aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and features a very impressive and well deserved performance from Whitaker. Despite its slightly lackluster feel, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is an inspiring film that will have you researching the real life story of Cecil Gaines which will direct you to Eugene Allen. It is interesting movie that you will enjoy.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

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