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Movie Reviews Lee Daniel's The Butler

Lee Daniel's The Butler

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With an ensemble cast of considerable star power, LEE DANIEL'S THE BUTLER (2013) starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cusack feels like a historical glimpse back into a forgotten time. A period in history when racism and oppression were acceptable trains of thought, and being born with black skin was a limitation that entire generations of African American families were forced to bear.

Cecil Gaines was a butler who served eight United States Presidents during his 34 year tenure in the White House. During his lifetime, he witnessed firsthand the staggering effects of black oppression, the desegregation of white schools, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and the election of America's first black president. Dramatic moments in American history that most of us have only read about in textbooks and caught glimpses of through newsreel footage.

Although some liberties might have been taken with a few of the historical facts regarding the personal family history of the White House butler Gene Allen, who Cecil Gaines's character was based on, historians are still generally satisfied with the portrayal of the political milestones. The outstanding performances by Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker are already stirring Oscar buzz, and after watching LEE DANIEL'S THE BUTLER, I agree that this movie will definitely be a contender for Best Picture come March of 2014.

I must admit a newfound appreciation for the strength and courage of the FREEDOM RIDERS who risked their lives and the safety of their families to make a stand for social equality under the leadership of Martin Luther King in the turbulent 1960's. Whether black or white, a pacifist or an activist...this movie is for everybody. A story of courage during a time when strength was not always rewarded or even accepted. Directed by Lee Daniels, PG-13, 132 mins, Biography, Drama. **** 4 stars out of 5. NOTE: Haven't quite figured out the 'puppet's speech' at the end.

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Reviewed by Lynne Martin September 10, 2013
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