LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER

The “buzz” has already begun. LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER is already being whispered about in “Oscar Circles”. The question is it worth it? Well, the film definitely has those moments that will create the buzz. Sentimental scenes that tug at your emotions. But, it also has some quieter scenes that are skillfully acted by Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. That is where “The Butler” shines. The analysis of the family dynamic as it relates to the civil rights battles of the 1960’s is a fresh take that is worth sitting through the movies slower parts. Those slower parts involve all but one of Whitaker’s interactions with the Presidents. ONly James Marsden give a credible performance. The rest of off the wall caricatures that seem more fitting for a Saturday Night Live sketch. The most outright bizarre is John Cusack’s portrayal of Richard Nixon. He looks nothing like him, and he’s made no apparent attempt to become Nixon physically. But I will say he nails Nixon’s paranoia, social awkwardness and flat out bat-shit craziness. Overall LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER is a very good movie, it’s just not the great film that it aspires to be. — Alan Yudman

The message of The Butler is as subtle as a sledgehammer but it’s also as hard hitting. It not only tells our nation’s ugly history of racism, it also shows a dysfunctional father son relationship riddled with misunderstanding,  stubbornness,  and pride. Although Lee Daniels pushes obvious buttons to get a reaction and looks at history in a Forrest Gump type of way at times, The Butler is a movie you can’t take your eyes off of. One of the best of the year. 

Stormy Curry

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