Monday, September 8, 2014

Two Line Reviews - #492

Movie: Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

Plot: Cecil Gaines works his way through to become the butler-in-chief at The White House & an account of the various important events to have occurred over the course of Eight Presidential terms he serves is presented, right from the place where the decisions were made, through the eyes and voice of The Presidents’ Butler. Also given is a peek on the characteristics of the Presidents who had held office over the Butler’s tenure.

What Works?
  • Lee Daniels & Danny Strong have combined to present not just the story of a Butler ; They have used it to present a story on the US Presidents & their political decisions from a perspective viewers are not familiar with, and they have succeeded in narrating it in a bio-pic style
  • Forest Whitaker comes up with an award worthy performance (It is a surprise why he didn’t get a nomination for it at the Oscars this year). The obedience, respect and loyalty to work his character shows is awe-inspiring
  • Differing ideologies over generations & the change in Afro-American mindset over the years is presented in a gripping fashion through the characters of the Butler’s son played with fire by David Banner. Oprah Winfrey too wins our hearts with her respectable portrayal of Cecil’s wife
  • The film’s costumes are worth a mention & a gradual transition in fashion as the years roll over is subtle yet observable
  • The perspective based screenplay is aided by the sharp dialogues & the confrontation scene at the dinner in the Butler Home is the high point in the film
What Doesn't?
  • The casting involves quite a few big names & not enough justice gets done to all of them
  • Eight Presidential terms is too broad a timeframe to be loaded into a film & that shows with the shallow depth offered to most of the Presidents

The film is definitely worth a watch for the fresh point of view from which decisions made at the White House are discerned. Where it lacks a bit is the depth to which it goes into each of those events.

In a nutshell: Provides fresh angle to known history

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