Lee Daniels' The Butler


Lee Daniels' The Butler

Critics Consensus

Gut-wrenching and emotionally affecting, Lee Daniels' The Butler overcomes an uneven narrative thanks to strong performances from an all-star cast.



Total Count: 194


Audience Score

User Ratings: 79,261
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Lee Daniels' The Butler Photos

Movie Info

LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man's life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award (R) nominated Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy (R)-award winning Danny Strong (GAME CHANGE). (c) Weinstein

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Forest Whitaker
as Cecil Gaines
Oprah Winfrey
as Gloria Gaines
John Cusack
as Richard Nixon
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Carter Wilson
Alan Rickman
as Ronald Reagan
Jane Fonda
as Nancy Reagan
James Marsden
as John F. Kennedy
Minka Kelly
as Jacqueline Kennedy
David Oyelowo
as Louis Gaines
Alex Pettyfer
as Thomas Westfall
Robin Williams
as Dwight D. Eisenhower
Alex Manette
as H.R. Haldeman
Mariah Carey
as Hattie Pearl
Lenny Kravitz
as James Holloway
Liev Schreiber
as Lyndon B. Johnson
Yaya DaCosta
as Carol Hammie
Colman Domingo
as Freddie Fallows
Nelsan Ellis
as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Elijah Kelley
as Charlie Gaines
Jesse Williams
as Rev. James Lawson
David Banner
as Earl Gaines
Michael Rainey Jr.
as Cecil Gaines
Vanessa Redgrave
as Annabeth Westfall
Aml Ameen
as Young Cecil Gaines (15)
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Critic Reviews for Lee Daniels' The Butler

All Critics (194) | Top Critics (51)

Audience Reviews for Lee Daniels' The Butler

  • Nov 30, 2015
    I have never seen a more pretentious film. This is an incredibly clumsy and disjointed movie but it thinks it's the shit. A lot of that comes from Daniels, who is about as subtle as a freight train. Don't watch this, it's a waste of time.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2015
    A generally enjoyable -- if partially miscast and bloated -- biopic that covers so much historical ground it's difficult not to admire.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2015
    wasn't expecting Oprah Winfrey: The Movie. Disappointing.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2014
    A somewhat moving film done with grace and dignity, but lacking the emotional heft to be profound. Although Whitaker and Winfrey deliver, the performances of the rest of the A-List ensemble cast is hit-or-miss. Entertaining but unnervingly episodic.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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