, , , ,


The Butler is a good movie.  A good movie that tries to do way to much against a formula that has already been successfully done.   There are so many stars and people packed into this movie, that I had to wonder if the director Lee Daniel’s sent a group text to everyone in his contact list.

Hey Everybody!  This is Lee.  I am making a movie kinda like Forrest Gump with the the timeline structure set against the Civil Rights movement.   And what a list of people who responded to the text!   Oprah, Terrance Howard, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, and a host of others.   While the acting is great, the one true standout and the man who carries the movie is Forest Whitaker.  He play Cecil Gaines, a butler at the White House.  He is present for eight presidents and the story is interwoven against real world events.  The subtlety to his acting, whether it is a shrug of the shoulder, a slight movement of his eyes, or the movement of his body serve to show a master actor at the top of his craft.

Visually this movie is odd.  While showing scenes of a shocking and upsetting nature, the look is stark and directly in your face.  The director chooses to play a lot of the rest of the movie with a shadow and not a lot of light.  In a movie heavy on conversation between it’s actors, there are times when there should be more light to see facial expressions.

But I really did enjoy The Butler overall.   It gives a person just a sense, a glimmer, of that the issues and challenges faced by the African American community during the Civil Rights movement.   However, it falls short of being a classic.  Why? Because the movie really should have rotated and wound itself more around Forest Whitaker’s performance instead of trying to run multiple sub plots.

3 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.