Writer: Ezwan MehzasWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"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