There are parts I love about this film and parts I hate, If I start with the hate, Oprah Winfrey, she may be a good person outside of acting but as I not reviewing her biography I will have to stick to her performance in this, she has the same icy look on her face throughout, if there was a journey she had to go on, lets say from 1 to 10, she started on 10 and finished on 10, I did not believe her pain or her happiness.
Now to the good, the story is interesting, you revisit a black persons life from 1926 onwards, the attitude of the black people is remarkable, this information is not unknown but this movie really gets under the skin of racist America at the time, the strength it must have taken not to react must have been overwhelming.
Forrest Whittaker is fabulous, as usual he tells a million stories with his eyes and drives the emotional roller coaster off the tracks.
The relationship he has with his son is powerful but it is his relationship with four different presidents is what has you attached to the different decades and gives you a feeling of how attitudes change over time.
WTF moments, Mariah Carey, I am told is biracial, when you see this family together,she is playing the mom of Forrest Whittaker ???, it just doesn’t look right or feel right, it feels like she was jam-packed into this movie because of who she is.
If you ignore Mariah and Oprah’s contribution you have a decent film.
Facts about the film:
The character of Cecil Gaines was based on Eugene Allen, who served as White House butler for over 30 years and 8 presidents from the Truman to Reagan administrations.
In the original script, Cecil Gaines meets President Barack Obama. Lee Daniels considered asking the president to play himself. Since the film was shot during the height of the 2012 presidential election, Daniels decided to cast actor Orlando Eric Street in the role instead. The scene was shot but ultimately discarded, and archival footage of the real President Obama was used.
Warner Bros. Pictures released the 1916 silent short film The Butler (1916), and filed a claim with the MPAA to rename this film. The MPAA allowed the Weinstein Company to add Daniels’ name in front of the title, under the condition that his name was “75% the size of The Butler”. On July 23, 2013, the distributor unveiled a revised film poster, with the title “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”.