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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 8 January 2014
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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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2014
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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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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on 16 February 2014
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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on 2 September 2014
This was both fabulous and very sad at the same time. The acting was fabulous and the story too, but the sometimes sad content of the decisions made by some of the characters makes human beings look every bit as nasty and horrid as they appear to be be. On occasion though then a few great people shine through and give us some hope for our future.
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The Butler - DVD

I was a bit dubious about this film but it turned out to be very good. Forest Whitaker gives a fine performance as one of the White House butlers during the administrations of the 1950's and 1960s.

Highyl recommended...a thinking man's film with no car chases or gun battles.
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on 17 February 2016
A sad version, but alas true and accurate about the suffering of coloured people in the USA, and the work of the Civil Rights Movement and the bravery of the many white people who joined them.
Interesting to see the goings on at the White House through the eyes of ..The Butler. A good cameo performance from Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan...she does the walk of Nancy Reagan...so accurately.

Good value for money...and a compelling story.
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on 1 June 2014
This film takes the viewer on a journey through recent American History. Forest Whitaker is excellent in the title role and Oprah Winfrey as his wife is also excellent in her role. Woven in with the history of the various presidents is the family's personal struggle. An excellent. Film, worthy of more than one viewing.
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on 15 August 2016
Pretty much standard fare from Hollywood. What starts as a good story gets bogged down in too much boring family disputes . This is a vehicle for anyone wanting to bang the drum on race issues. The cast looked promising but the story line was not nearly strong enough.
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