August 24, 2013

The Butler (2013)

The Butler (2013)
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Country: USA

Review: The real life of Eugene Allen, a butler who worked for the White House for more than 30 years, was the inspiration for this top box-office drama written by Danny Strong and directed by Lee Daniels. Historically significant, the film eventually stumbled in its execution filled with stereotypes, which took the story too far in the sentimental terms. After the trauma concerning his father’s assassination in the 20’s, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) seems to have found some stability when he was hired to be a butler in the White House in 1957. He served consecutive administrations, starting with the president Eisenhower and finishing with Ronald Reagan (so many bad choices for the actors who played the presidents!), becoming an emblematic employee. But Cecil had a lot to struggle with, starting with his two sons: Louis (David Oyelowo), an important voice of the civil rights movement, and Charlie who would become a victim of the Vietnam War. The support of his wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) was fundamental for him to move on, in a country that always had treated the African-American without respect. With a non-rigorous narrative, Daniels’s propensity for the overemotional didn’t produce the same effective results as in “Precious”, and regardless the moral values associated to its story, the film never reached the genuineness needed to provide a staunch satisfaction. Oprah and Oyelowo were never convincing, in opposition to Whitaker who played the butler with assurance and plainness.

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