Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Special Cinema Spotlight: The Butler

It is rare to find a film that speaks of a generation so honestly and with so much love and respect as in The Butler. The film is based on the life of Eugene Allen who served as a butler to the White House for thirty-four years,

Directed by Lee Daniels, written by Danny Strong, and including a massive ensemble cast of actors such as; Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David, Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding, Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Terrance Howard, Clarence Williams, III, and Jane Fonda-just to name a few.
The film was set from the 1920's til the year 2008 but focused primarily on the years of service at the White House which were 1952-1986. Seeing such a massive amount of history and events play before your very eyes was exhilarating and moving to watch. It was all masterfully put together where the information was before you but never too overwhelming that you couldn't focus on the main story at hand which was that of father and son (Cecil and Louis Gaines played by Whitaker and Oyelowo, respectively).
In the midst of all the serious history you will see an eye full of amazing fashion, primarily from the 1950's and 1960's. And the best part is that you do get to see Oprah's character of Gloria Gaines (Cecil's wife) dressed in a 1970's disco jumper-its awesome!!!!
For those who plan to see this film just know that it was inspired by Allen's life, it does not reflect how he really lived-at least not the super dramatic parts of the film such as adultery, alcoholism, etc.

Seeing the changes that happened in this country through both of the eyes of Cecil and Louis was both educational and uplifting. Louis couldn't understand the pride that Cecil had in being a butler in the White House while Cecil couldn't understand why Louis had to go out and fight against the system (ie marches, freedom rider, black panthers).
Although learning about Cecil Gaines life was at times hard to watch, learning about his childhood and how he came to be the butler was tastefully told. It reminds us that the truth is sometimes not something we want to hear but should hear. And also to put it bluntly, sometimes we need to get through a whole lot of ugly to get to some pretty. 

Life can be hard and scary and tragic but it is how we decide to react to it and the decisions we make on how to live it that make a difference.

Cecil's life started out what we would deem as cruel, unjust, and depraved but he rises above that to be a good person and hard worker. Perhaps so much so that the biggest character flaws he has is that he gave too much and sometimes forgot to give to his own family in the process.
They say no man is an island and that is true. The character of Cecil Gaines teaches you that every man is great no matter his role in life and that we each need the support and wisdom of the other. You see that in the film as each President takes into account to various conversations he has with Mr. Gaines. 
I cannot recommend this film enough. Everyone should see it. It truly is beautifully crafted. My hope is that many people will watch it so they can reflect on the past, be willing to learn about the past, or simply just reflect on themselves and how they have lived their lives thus far.

If you would like to learn more about the beautiful life of Mr. Eugene Allen (seen right above with the character of Cecil Gaines), you can find a copy of The Butler by Wil Haygood here. I will be reviewed this book soon as well, so keep your eyes peeled!

Bunny's Victory is an affiliate of Amazon.com


  1. Oh! I have plans to see it with some friends this weekend. I can't wait.

    1. Oh fantastic! You will not be disappointed Desirae! xox

  2. Beautiful review, dear Bunny. I am so happy to see Oprah doing more acting again. I will never forget her hauntingly dramatic performance in The Colour Purple back in the 80s. She's a talented actress and I hope that now that TV career has gone in a different direction (her channel), she'll keep on doing more acting.

    ♥ Jessica


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