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126 Reviews
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental but powerfull film
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...
Published 6 months ago by Mr. R. W. Graham

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but it felt like it fell of the cliff at the end.
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...
Published 19 days ago by D. MALTBY


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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental but powerfull film, 8 Jan 2014
By 
Mr. R. W. Graham (Lincoln, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but it felt like it fell of the cliff at the end., 5 July 2014
By 
D. MALTBY - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Butler (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving and ultimately uplifting, 23 Mar 2014
By 
markr - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 16 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 July 2014
By 
L. Carpenter - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Great buy
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'SOME STORIES JUST HAVE TO BE TOLD', 13 Mar 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butler [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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.
Today we have a 'Black' President in the 'White House' I suspect even the
civil rights activists of the 60's could never have envisaged this (having watched
this film I'm so glad that the Butler who had served so many down the years
lived to see it.
A moving and powerful film, often sad, occasionally heart warming, a well
portrayed drama with an outstanding performance from 'Forest Whitaker'
Because the film is often a little slow my first thoughts were to award 4/5 however
the film is better than that, in fact it is a story that had to be told.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not That Good, 20 July 2014
This review is from: The Butler (DVD)
The story of a man who escapes the slavery of the 1920's cotton fields & his rise to the White House.In 1926 he witnesses the shooting of his father in the cotton fields,the lady of the house decides as he is just a boy,he should work inside as a butler.The film starts in 1926,jumps to 1961,then takes you through the civil rights movement covering a good 4 or 5 presidents,finishing with Regan.
This should have been a great film but it doesn't really have the emotional impact you would expect,it shows all the seperation & how badly they were treated & the misery a lot of people went through but it just lacks something.Everyone is good on the acting side,with Oprah Wimprey making her debut but the film is slow whilst felling a bit rushed on some of the history.

Disappointing,watch "The Help" instead,a much better film on the same subject.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good amalgamation of experiences of american black people from the ..., 17 July 2014
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Started well, a good amalgamation of experiences of american black people from the 30's to the 80's. The prejudice and difficulties they experienced is something everyone needs to be aware of. The film ended in a bit of 'Hollywood schmalz' and long drawn out pathos which detracted from its powerful message. The acting is excellent, especially the (surprising casting) cameo roles of each Amercian president.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambivalent, 17 Jan 2014
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Real ambivalence watching this film, on the one hand a good review of Civil Rights and the country's march onwards. On the other hand, real dramatization of funerals, and the civil Rights Marches. There must be an in-between, but what we are offered is the extremes.

Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, play a married couple, Clarence and Gloria Gaines. Clarence witnessed the death of his father being shot by a white man, who had just raped his mother in the cotton fields. Clarence worked his way up from the cotton fields to the Butler at the White House. He and Gloria had good times and bad, Clarence spent most of his time at the White House, leaving Gloria to bring up their two sons. One son became estranged after he decided protest was his way of life, and the other son went to Vietnam.

What we are presented with is the life of the Butler in the White House, the Presidents he served from Eisenhower to Reagan. The Civil Rights of Afro Americans were discussed in front of him, as if he was not there. That was his life. All in all, both Clarence, Gloria and their sons did their own thing. The fault Dear Ceasar, is the director, who gave us reality with a reality show. The two do not mix.

Wonderful performances by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, but not Academy Award material. Lots of music that swelled and gave us moments of sadness, of course, I was all above that as I was weeping.

Recommended. 01-16-14
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