The Butler 2013

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(132) IMDb 7.1/10
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As Cecil Gaines 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.

Starring:
Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 12 minutes
Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack
Director Lee Daniels
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 10 March 2014
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Original title Lee Daniels' The Butler
Discs
  • Feature ages_12_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 12 minutes
Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack
Director Lee Daniels
Genres Drama
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 10 March 2014
Main languages English
Subtitles English
Original title Lee Daniels' The Butler

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. W. Graham VINE VOICE on 8 Jan 2014
Format: DVD
The Butler tells the true story of Cecil Gaines, a young man who runs away from a slave plantation in the 1920's and after a string of odd jobs ends up as a butler in the White House where he serves several American Presidents and witnesses several historic moments while his son gets caught up in the growing civil rights movement. Some superb performances here noteably from Forrest Whittaker giving one of his best performances as The Butler himself and Operah Winfrey giving her best performance ever as his loyal wife with excellent support from Terrance Howard and John Cusack, Robin Williams, James Marsden and Alan Rickman give good cameo appearances as presidents Nixon, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan respectively with Jane Fonda also appearing as Nancy Reagan. Yes it gets very sentimental but this is ultimately a powerfull piece of filmmaking from Lee Daniels the director of Precious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lazaros K. on 28 July 2014
Format: DVD
This could have been a great film.One for the annals of cinematography.It has all the ingredients required to keep the viewer riveted in his seat.The oppression of the blacks(sorry,but I do not use the -ludicrous-"politically correct" term african-american,any more than I use the term Caucasian,especially since I heard it used on TV to describe a Nigerian and a Brasilian footballer !!!) in the States,political activism,the White House over several presidents,and a superb cast.Forest Whitaker's performance as the butler,Cecil Gaines,is outstanding,and,surprisingly so,Oprah is good.There is also a small army of stars playing minor parts,and all of them,with the exception of the totally miscast Cusack as Nixon,are excellent.
So what is missing ? Why is this just a good film,no more than that ?
Well,in my humble opinion,this is because there is no definitive direction in this movie.Instead of using the life of a White House butler as a canvas where the political history of the U.S. over the last six decades could be painted , the film remains "undecided".Too much time is ,literally,wasted in the domestic affairs of the butler ( I suspect because this was the only way Oprah would get to be on sreen a lot of time...)and a lot less in the portrayals of "White House Dramas"than one would expect.Big mistake.Then ,of all the presidents that we "meet"in the movie,ranging from indifferent (Kennedy)to scum(Nixon),the Reagan couple are portrayed as the proverbial "Saints".God forbid ! And please,do not tell me this is because the 'butler' wrote so.The 'butler'did not make this movie.Hollywood did.
All in all I believe that the movie lacks inspiration,lacks soul.It tries to balance evenly the "family values"and the "socio-political"aspects.And it never really succeeds,to its detriment.
It "could have been a contender" for Uncle Oscar's statuette.As it is,it shouldn't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. MALTBY on 5 July 2014
Format: DVD
I am not an expert on the intricacies of Northern American history, native or its subsequent annexation. So I won't dream of critiquing this film on the historical front. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I might. That might be because certain elements didn't feel like they rang true, or that truth is less appealing than a dramatisation, or just that expectation is the ruin of art as a medium. Judge it for yourselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gail Judd on 5 May 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent film. Very good acting from all involved.
Would recommend this film as a film to see.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Mar 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I loved this movie, which brilliantly depicts the history of civil rights in the United States from the 1950s to the election of President Obama, through the eyes of a White House butler, played here superbly by Forest Whitaker, and his family. Oprah Winfrey is magnificent here as his wife

Mixing history with a moving family story this is a highly emotional movie, which charts the progress of the last 60-70 years alongside the life experience, triumphs and tragedies and the aging of the central characters.

Deeply moving, and utlimately uplifting, this is a great movie which I am sure I will watch again
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Glennon on 16 Feb 2014
Format: DVD
Fantastically acted and directed, it's moving and a perfect history lesson. Seriously powerful stuff. Would happily see again. Loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Carpenter on 5 July 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great buy
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By rbmusicman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The film is adapted from 'Will Haywood's' 2008 Washington Post article,
a 'Butler' well served by this election.
Telling the real-life story of former 'White House' butler 'Eugene Allen'
In this film the butler is called 'Cecil Gaines' (Forest Whitaker)
It tells of his start in life working with his parents in the 'Cotton Fields'
At a, still young age he sets off to find his own way in life, finding it to be
as it was in the fields......he remains a second class citizen....he gradually
works his way up in life becoming a 'butler' eventually being offered a
position in the 'White House' as a butler, in all serving seven presidents.
Down the years he has learned to block out the prejudices that follow him
and his family down the years.
He brings up his family in 'Washington' with his wife 'Gloria' (Oprah Winfrey)
'Cecil' serves in the White-House at a time when...
The assassination of JFK a President who had spoke of change, and later the
killing of 'Martin Luther King' (civil-rights spokesman)
We see the violence of organisations such as the 'Klu Klux Klan' his son
joining civil rights movements whilst another son signs up to join the army
serving in 'Vietnam'
The rise of the 'Black Panther' movement in which his son becomes involved
in the late sixties.
The film had mixed reviews when released as it does with reviews on this site,
The story deals with race relations a subject that has never quite gone away
down the years, though progress has been made as the film portrays.
Read more ›
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