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73 of 78 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 7 months ago by Mr. R. W. Graham

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6 of 6 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 1 month ago by D. MALTBY


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73 of 78 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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6 of 6 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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25 of 28 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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18 of 20 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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20 of 23 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 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Also Serve Who Only Stand And Wait, 12 Aug 2014
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Typical exuberant American biopic based (very very loosely) on the life of Eugene Allen; you have a hard life in the cotton fields, the move north, the skills and rules of butlering, a son in the Freedom Riders and the Panthers another in Vietnam. It is a clever and effective moulding of a lot of the black experience in those years. A great opportunity for guest "presidents" and some real drama and tragedy. All lifting to the election of Obama. All the more effective for Forest Whitaker's skilful playing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in this one, 4 Aug 2014
By 
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This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Mmmm..Disappointed in this one. All kinds of famous names in the cast list, but, sadly, it just seemed like a parade of President look-alikes.

Forrest Whitaker did his best, but he had little time to develop his character, which made this particular butler difficult to pin down. Is he a sympathetic character? Do you really care what happens to him?
No. Not really.

Maybe we all expect too much, and are therefore, disappointed.

Geena.
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3.0 out of 5 stars very "inspired" by true events........, 16 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Butler [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
i would have given this film 5 stars if i didnt read up on it. i know nearly all films based on true events are exaggerated but this film crosses the line. the main family character names are made up and one family member totally made up. i understand the subject of this film is very delicate to comment on, but the evil of man is disgusting enough with out having to make it up, for example some of the horrific scenes are totally made up for shock purposes only, when reality of evil is shocking enough, especially the opening scene which did not happen at all. i know the film is "inspired" by true events but i can not understand why some events have to be up and put in this film just to add to the story. if you enjoyed this film like i did, do not research the true story this was "inspired" by.
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11 of 14 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
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting !!! So So, 22 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Butler [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent acting by Forest as usual.
That’s the best thing you can say about this film. It's fairly slow (not an issue) but also a fairly boring film. I’ve read with interest some of the other comments on the accuracy of the film, the other family members and the racist aspects. I was extremely surprised to read that some members of the US apologised/felt ashamed on Amazon after watching the film. Good God, if every nation or section of society continually apologised for what historically had happened in the past (out of our control now), nothing would ever get done. Of course the film is going to add extra spicy bits to make it more interesting.
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The Butler [DVD] by Lee Daniels (DVD - 2014)
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