THE BUTLER (aka LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER) (15)
D: Lee Daniels
The Weinstein Company (Lee Daniels, Laura Ziskin, Pamela Oas Williams, Buddy Patrick & Cassian Elwes)
USA 🇺🇸 2012
W: Danny Strong [based on the book "A Butler Well Served By This Election" by Will Haygood]
DP: Andrew Dunn
Ed: Joe Klotz
Mus: Rodrigo Leão
Forest Whitaker (Cecil Gaines), Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), Jane Fonda (Nancy Reagan), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Carter Wilson), Terrence Howard (Howard), Lenny Kravitz (James Holloway), James Marsden (John F. Kennedy), David Oyelowo (Louis Gaines), Vanessa Redgrave (Annabeth Westfall), Alan Rickman (Ronald Reagan), Liev Schreiber (Lyndon B. Johnson), Robin Williams (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
Forest Whitaker plays the butler of the title, Cecil Gaines, whose career in The White House sees him serve for a number of different presidents, brought to the screen by some first choice casting decisions in addition to some great makeup work.
Whilst Cecil witnesses the changing world from those in charge at Oval Office, his son becomes involved in his own civil rights war by joining the Black Panther group.
The film squeezes a lot of history into its running time, which is only really beneficial if you actually know the history. You won't learn anything new from this story.
Despite this minor issue, it's a very well crafted drama, with a superb performance from Whitaker, though the true plaudits belong to Oprah Winfrey, who gives a stunning display as an actress as Cecil's wife, Gloria Gaines. It's almost a crime that she was snubbed of an Oscar nomination for her fine performance.