zaterdag 22 maart 2014
100 Movie Challenge 2014 - # 45: The Butler
Runtime: 132 minutes
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, Cuba Goodingg Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Liev Schreiber, Jane Fonda
Description: As Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.
Review: The story of “The Butler” is inspired by real-life butler Eugene Allen, who worked at the White House for 34 years. Here the main character is called Cecil Gaines. We see how he goes from working the cotton fields with his parents to being a butler in the White House.
Director Lee Daniels wanted to make a film about the position of Afro Americans in their battle for equality. It looks promising, but Daniels bit off more than he could chew. He is known for his heavy themes, like the film “Precious”. There it works a bit better, because he focused on the life of one girl. “The Butler” is set in a timespan of almost 90 years. He simply doesn’t have enough time for that, so his story is a bit lost.
Forest Whitaker does his task. His performance is solid and convincing and it’s better than the movie itself. Oprah Winfrey probably gave her all, but she doesn’t bring it. David Oyelowo, who played Cecil’s son, did a fantastic job. The rest of the cast is hard to judge, because they simply don’t get the room to exploit.
I understand where Lee Daniels was going with this film and the result is definitely not bad, because I enjoyed watching “The Butler”, but I think this project was too ambitious.
Rating: 3/ 5