As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.
Nelson Mandela, in his first term as President of South Africa, initiates a unique venture to unite the Apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.
An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper's) pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
Cecil Gaines was a sharecropper's son who grew up in the 1920s as a domestic servant for the white family who casually destroyed his. Eventually striking out on his own, Cecil becomes a hotel valet of such efficiency and discreteness in the 1950s that he becomes a butler in the White House itself. There, Cecil would serve numerous US Presidents over the decades as a passive witness of history with the American Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum even as his family has troubles of its own. As his wife, Gloria, struggles with her addictions and his defiant eldest son, Louis, strives for a just world, Cecil must decide whether he should take action in his own way.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
In the original script, Cecil Gaines meets President Barack Obama. Lee Daniels considered asking the president to play himself. Since the film was shot during the height of the 2012 presidential election, Daniels decided to cast actor Orlando Eric Street in the role instead. The scene was shot but ultimately discarded, and archival footage of the real President Obama was used. See more »
When the camera pans up Jacqueline Kennedy's legs after JFK's assassination, it's obvious that the actress is not wearing stockings/pantyhose. In 1963, no woman, especially the First Lady, would appear in public with bare legs. See more »
In a timid year, this film is a flawed, but essential, jolt to the system
The Butler (Daniels, 2013, B+)
This should have been a punchline. At least, that's what I was walking in expecting. From the overblown marketing to the downright bizarre cast, it had all the trimmings of a pure turkey. Here's the thing, though... It's not. The film is not a facsimile of historical events, it is an invigoration of them and despite the relatively classical style on display, Lee Daniels brings a real brio to the proceedings. It helps that he has Whitaker to make it all stick as the film's unfailingly warm and engaging center. Even in the first 20-30 minutes when the film is struggling to find its legs, his performance is an unmannered beauty. The rest of the actors are also galvanized into action, proving that verisimilitude is not the highest criteria for historical fiction. This is a film as powerful, as beautiful, as unlikely, and as raggedly imperfect as the country it chronicles.
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