Lee Daniels' The Butler - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lee Daniels' The Butler Reviews

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April 10, 2016
I'm glad I watched it. The story is good, acting is great and the general feel of the movie feels right. I'm not sure how much of this is true and they make you feel as though he had an affect on policy which probably isn't true but either way it was entertaining and insightful.
March 28, 2016
Very good in the history and story line but not all true.
½ March 13, 2016
It is historically interesting, but the scope of subject matter and time this movie attempts to cover is daunting. We meet Cecil Gaines as seven-year-old in 1926 working on a sharecropping plantation. The movie walks us through various stages of his life. Lee Daniels works his way from poor farm hand to a White House Butler serving seven different presidents over thirty-four years. It is a remarkable life story of a man of great dignity and integrity. The story uses Lee Daniels as a mechanism to walk through time and see the enormous challenges and changes in American civil rights. It also tells the contrasting path of his oldest son, who resents his father's seemingly subservient job. The scenes between Cecil and his wife and sons are far more interesting than the scenes of his work at the White House. It makes its political points on a large scale well, but I wish the individual or emotional scales were of greater focus. Forest Whitaker plays the quiet Cecil Gaines well. He conveys a great deal with his physical and facial acting without talking. Oprah Winfrey does such a good job playing his wife; I wish she would act more often. Cuba Gooding Jr., David Banner, and Terrence Howard each do a commendable job as well. Seeing the different actors play famous presidents was a lot of fun. Sadly, the Presidents time on screen is short. We do not fully get to enjoy the performances from Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, and Alan Rickman. Unexplainably the story completely skips Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Even if they were two of the less appreciated presidents in history, I would still like to see them briefly mentioned. There is a lot of good information in this fictionalized biopic, but it tries to cover so much ground it lacks the concentrated focus that can deliver a poignant emotional impact.
March 12, 2016
I just finished watching Lee Daniels The Butler and I have to say it was a top level movie. The pride that this man had in his service whether it is to his country his family or friend it cannot be matched.
The Butler is a movie that all should watch and it is not just a great story about this Butler but a great historical piece that will teach the world of all the hardships that mankind causes for itself.
I recommend this movie to be watched in conjunction with the movie called "Selma" Watch Selma first and then watch "The Butler"
Top performances by the entire cast. A movie that you have to watch and have as part of your collection.
Totally Recommended.
½ March 11, 2016
The Butler is a fine example of a film that boasts its cast, subject matter, and sentimentality. Its cast has a variety of big names that stand out more than their characters (except Whitaker's). It treats its subject matter - black history in political, racial, social, and cultural considerations - as an elementary outline on the basics, sporting no points, no solutions, and not even insight. Instead, history is treated as a backdrop of a slideshow. Then, its emotions are melodramatic, jumping from one cliche to the next, treating its characters as two-dimensional with no self-value independent of the plot demands. The only considerable benefactor here is Whitaker's performance of a character who is emotionally unstable and lacks a clear motivation.
March 11, 2016
Phenomenal cast, incredible true story of Eugene Allen, this is a must-watch for any American. Let us remember where we have come from as a country, not hide from it out of shame or hurt.
March 8, 2016
An emotive perspective of the American Civil rights movement, presented with a level of class and elegance making this movie as much an experience as a story. The awakening of the Butler mirrors the awakening of a nation as both mature and develop through the inescapable path demanded by their morality, character and integrity. A journey that will inevitably render the discerning viewer a person of improved character.
½ February 14, 2016
Strong and emotional, it seems that it scrapes only the surface at times. Nice performance by Whitaker.
February 14, 2016
Gave up before the end
February 13, 2016
Was not interested after the first 15 minutes. The clear lies about this historical event made me want to vomit. I couldn't watch the rest.
February 9, 2016
A real gud watch, Brilliant acting & a fab cast !!
February 6, 2016
It begs for nominations yet does little to nothing that is deserving of any.
½ January 29, 2016
I did not know what to expect before watching this film, but I was pleasantly surprised by it! Such an amazing story that went very deep in the events of the civil rights movement. It was upsetting, but I enjoyed it overall! Perfect casting choices as well.
January 28, 2016
The Butler is the kind of movie you would be shown in a high school history class when a sub has been called in for the day. It's not a terrible film by any means, but all the morality and characters are so simplistic it's hard to really cling to anything. While at times its overt earnestness would almost beat me into submission, its overreaching goals, lack of focus, and HORRENDOUS makeup work make it nothing more than a less skillful and less entertaining Forrest Gump.
January 21, 2016
I expected The Butler to be about mainly just a life spent serving presidents, but the film is much more than that. Packed with an amazing cast, a compelling nature and a strong story, The Butler is an amazingly well done film that captures civil rights history.
The Butler tells the true story of Cecil Gaines, a top White House butler who served Presidents Eisenhower through Reagan. Gaines also tries to adjust to a changing America during the 1960s civil rights movement, where he builds a damaged relationship with his son, a strong civil rights activist.
The Butler is impressive. Time and history is a common theme and it stays through the film and after. Characters evolve and time evolves. The film displays a compelling nature that focuses on both presidencies but more on the civil rights movement. Whitaker does such a realistic job at his character that really drawed me in. As the character grows older, I felt more and more interested in him and had more respect in his actions. Gaines has such a well made story and it is displayed excellently on screen. Even Oprah displays an impressive performance that makes you forget that it's Oprah, a realistic performance that goes hand in hand with Whitaker. The character of Louis stays true as a stepping stone and made me both love and hate him. He means well but there are times when the character, much like the film's common theme, evolves. The Butler isn't just the story of a presidential butler, or even a biopic. It's history. It displays a misleading message with its poster themes of a presidential setup but the film focuses deeply and passionately on the evolution of the 1960s civil rights movement that ends the film on the inauguration of Barack Obama. You either love The Butler or you immediately find it to be sappy and a bit exaggerated. I find that the film does an exceptional job at shooting directly for the viewers' newfound respect for certain characters. It knows how to get bigger and better as it goes on. The characters and sensational performances make The Butler a great film and a modern day must see.
January 20, 2016
I watched this movie with my family which was a treat in itself. We all loved it and cried and smiled together. Perhaps, the choice of actors to play the politicians was a little off or the actual events were not quite accurate. However, the story is so powerful because slavery and the civil rights movement did happen and this movie brings it all home by highlighting the story of one man. This story is about resilience, hope and forgiveness. Even though, Cecil Gaines suffered terrible trauma and abuse in his childhood, he managed to rise above falling in love, getting married, fathering two children from the same woman and working hard at his job. This is a testament to the human spirit. I admire his resilience, I am in awe. His strong character was transferred to his sons. His older son fought for equal rights through passivity. Even though, conditions were so bad for black people, Charlie did not want to hurt anyone. I admire his restraint, his discipline and his ability to form loving relationships amidst such hardship. There are some very tough scenes to watch and these moments have stuck with me for days. I can't believe how white people abused their power and justified their hatred. It is so scary when people are judged by a color or race.
This is a remarkable story.Forest Whittaker and Oprah played their parts flawlessly. I feel privileged to have been able to watch this movie knowing that we still have a long way to go to eradicate racism, but we have entered the race and are on our way.
½ January 9, 2016
No esta mal, pero tampoco aporta mucho. En cualquier caso me sigue sorprendiendo que las cosas que cuenta hayan pasado en realidad
January 2, 2016
very interesting film that shows the changing of American society during the civil rights movement and also the generational differences in culture
½ December 31, 2015
Nicely paced historical drama based on the true story of a White House butler who lives through 7 Presidents during the civil rights era. Forrest Whitaker is super in the role. Oprah plays his wife, Gloria, and is also magnificent. Son Louis is played by David Owelowo, who matches with MLK, a role he later masters in Selma. Lots of cameos for big named actors. Great movie.
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