I don’t recall The Butler getting much critical acclaim when it first came out but I’ve no idea why it’s brilliant. My favourite aspects of the film were 1) how it tells the story of Civil Rights Movement both through the major events and figures eg. Dr King but also through Cecil’s eyes e.g. his struggle to get equal pay. 2) The conflict between Cecil and his son over the differing ideologies, the son believing it was up to African-Americans to fight for their own equality, Cecil believing the whites, particularly the President (who gave him a job), had their best interests at heart and things would naturally get better over time. 3) The portrayal of the presidents, in particular how it highlighted that not  a single one of them passed any civil rights law of their own accord, it was always the Civil Rights Movement that forced their hand, without it nothing would have changed and that’s the most important message I took from the film and the message Cecil eventually gets when he finally gets given equal pay under the Reagan administration and get’s invited to the presidential ball and he realizes that after so many years loyal service he’s simply there as a token, so he quits and joins his son on a Free Mandela march. It also has a stellar cast with top class performances from Whitaker, Oprah and David Olewayo as well as a great cameo from Mariah Carey in a non speaking role (I’ve got admit I didn’t realise it was her till the credits). Honourable mentions also to John Cusack as Nixon, Minka Kelly as Jackie K (Minka is absolutely stunning but seeing a Latino 1st lady during the Civil Rights Movement was a bit odd, although actually it turns out she isn’t Latino sorry Minka) and the late great Robin Williams as Eisenhower. Definitely one of the best Civil Rights Movement themed films of the last few years.

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