Lee Daniels' The Butler Reviews

Page 1 of 9
Kimber Myers
The Playlist
August 12, 2013
Lee Daniels' The Butler is the type of film that will likely please viewers who feel that they're doing their civic duty by learning about history and experiencing the trauma of the civil rights movement.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
David Berry
National Post
August 16, 2013
At times maudlin and at other times just smug, dabbed with just enough humour to keep from being insufferable, it's like a victory lap that serves to dull and distress the hard-earned footsteps that came before it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Sandy Schaefer
ScreenRant
August 17, 2013
Lee Daniels' The Butler is part lackluster biopic, part ham-fisted (and somewhat misguided) historical allegory - despite noble intentions of the cast and filmmakers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Guy Lodge
Film4
November 15, 2013
It's effectively Forrest Gump Goes To The White House, with all the patronising political reductionism that implies.
Matt Patches
ScreenCrush
August 9, 2013
Forces the square legacy of Cecil into the round 'Forrest Gump' hole.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
August 15, 2013
The movie's a mess, but a unique and provocative one.
Siobhan Synnot
Scotsman
November 11, 2013
Apparently the film is based on real White House butler Eugene Allen: you can't help feeling he should have been served better.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matthew Toomey
ABC Radio Brisbane
November 3, 2013
With so many actors and so many subplots, it felt like I was watching a rushed chronology of civil rights events than an engaging, character-driven story.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
August 16, 2013
The film is, in the conventional and lamentable 21st-century Hollywood mode, so overt and obvious that at times it feels like a parody of historical drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 83/100
Graham Young
Birmingham Mail
October 10, 2014
The Butler is often impressively acted, beautifully shot and clearly designed to try to pick up a heartfelt award or two. But, as a film, it's too fragmented to carry its own weight on its shoulders and is over- burdened by a starry cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Tim Grierson
Screen International
August 8, 2013
Squeezing a miniseries' worth of drama into a feature-length film, this impassioned story simply doesn't have the time to really delve into the epochal periods it chronicles.
Robbie Collin
Daily Telegraph
November 14, 2013
Feels so dehydrogenated and polyunsaturated that an apter title might have been Lee Daniels' I Can't Believe It's Not Butler.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Katey Rich
Guardian
August 9, 2013
A great film about the American civil rights movement is way overdue. The Butler, overwhelmed by flash and good intentions, doesn't even come close.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Eric D. Snider
TwitchFilm
August 15, 2013
What The Butler tries to accomplish is so noble and ambitious that it almost doesn't matter how clumsily maudlin it ends up being, how over-earnest and sanctimonious it can be.
Jeffrey Lyles
Lyles' Movie Files
August 15, 2013
A well-meaning, but overly long history lesson that largely finds its captivating hook whenever the attention is focused off its title character.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
December 27, 2013
A more grandiose version of The Help, The Butler stands at the ready, eager to offer an after-dinner mint of simplified, sweetened history to make us--especially white Americans--feel good about how that whole racism thing turned out in the end.
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
September 18, 2014
The Butler tells an obviously important and inspiring story, but the actual movie is laughable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
November 14, 2013
If only history were like this: epochs of simple-minded epic struggle, followed by happy-ever-after closures.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matt Pais
RedEye
August 15, 2013
Feels like a 12-year-old's C- oral presentation on the subject.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
August 15, 2013
An unimpressive survey of American racism told through an under-whelming drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Page 1 of 9