Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a movie loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler at the White House for 34 years through eight administrations. As is usually the case, the movie changes some things about Allen’s life, including his name, which is Cecil Gaines in the film. Cecil starts out in a cotton field, but is moved into a house when his father is killed. He then continues to serve in houses and hotels until he gets asked by the head of staff to work as a butler for the White House. Cecil serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, while he is affected by things like the civil rights movement, Vietnam, family and American society. Cecil’s son, Louis Gaines, is angry at the beginning of the movie with his father for serving white people who treat him poorly. Louis goes on to work with the freedom bus and the Black Panthers. Louis then sees that the Black Panthers have changed for the worse and leaves. He goes back to college and gets a master’s in political science, runs for office and protests the treatment of Nelson Mandela. Throughout the movie, Cecil and Louis don’t see eye to eye. Cecil sees his son as a delinquent and believes that the president will be the one to change everything for the better. Louis sees his father as a servant to the oppression that corrupts the country and holds the country back. By the end of the movie they both understand each other more. I enjoyed this movie. It was an interesting look at the people who surround important people like the president and how the president’s decisions affected those working closly to him. Forest Whitaker has a great performance as Cecil Gaines, bringing the feeling of a man who grew up in a different time. While David Oyelowo plays Louis as a great opposite character, and has a similarly good performance. If you’re looking for a heartfelt drama, this should be at the top of your list.
Kyle Dowling is an employee of M3 Group and is pursuing a writing degree at LCC. He enjoys fiction writing, video games and movies.