Movie Details

The Butler

"The Butler" tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man`s life and family.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 24 Oct 2013
Genre: Drama / Biography
Running Time: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Pettyfer, Mariah Carey, Yaya Dacosta, Colman Domingo, Aml Ameen, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Liev Schreiber
Director: Lee Daniels
Format: 2D


Writer: Ezwan Mehzas

Writer Ratings:

Watch this if you liked: "The Help".

"The Butler" tells the life story of Cecil Gaines as he serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House during the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events that had affected this man's life, family, and American society.

The film was indeed long but did not feel too draggy as there were a lot of plot developments in the film. With a story covering almost an entire man's life, it is expected that the film would have plenty of developments, especially when major events in American history occur, affecting Cecil's life as well as those close to him.

This film utilizes time skips and does so tastefully as the film would not only mention what year it skips to but the location as well. While there was time gaps, the movie felt like there was nothing really that the audience had missed.

The cast was great and played their roles well, although it felt very odd to cast John Cusack as Richard Nixon as he does not look the part. There were indeed a lot of characters which prevented most of the cast from being able to shine. This story goes through most characters at break neck speed, but at the same time, we didn't really need to wait long to see character developments which is good.

It is important to note that Cecil Gaines is a fictional character based on real life Whitehouse former butler Eugene Allen who, unlike Cecil, started by working in the pantry for years before becoming a butler, had only one son that was not involved in the Black Panther movement and survived the Vietnam war, and his wife did not have alcohol problems. While there are historic events mentioned in the film, it is ultimately a work of fiction.

Thus, perhaps the characters are over dramatised for the purpose of the story. Even so, it does not change the fact that it was very entertaining and gut wrenching at times. The characters are played out so well, that it is easy to feel empathy for them. Forest Whitaker's performance was indeed excellent.

As a whole, this film is something worth watching. While the events in the life of Cecil Gaines are mostly fictional, it does not mean that you would feel any less for him. This is probably one of those films that you might feel like you have gained something from just watching.

Cinema Online, 25 September 2013
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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