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The Butler

For some reason I had not heard about The Butler until recently; thus, I decided to watch it last night. I found The Butler to be an excellent movie worthy of an Academy Award. I could only hope that more movies of this high caliber should be produced. It stars Forest WhitakerOprah Winfrey, and John Cusack, but has many stars in smaller roles, including Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, and Jane Fonda.

The Butler was based on a true story of a White House butler. It spans around 80 years and looks at some of the more important moments in the civil rights movement. The butler is Cecil Gaines who grew up on a cotton plantation near Macon, GA (this was the hometown of my mother), where he experienced much tragedy including seeing his father killed and his mother raped. Fortunately for him he is given an oppurtunity to become a butler.  Cecil became one of the best butlers on the plantation. As he grew older and reached a point of maturity, Cecil realized that unless he wanted to meet the same fate as his father, he needed to get out of the South and head North where the opportunities were slightly more improved for a colored man.

By the 1940′s, Cecil found himself in Washington DC working as a butler at the Hotel Excelsior, where he met his wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey), and built a life for her and their two sons. In 1957, he was recruited to work at the White House, starting under the Eisenhower administration. On his first day, Cecil was asked to serve President Eisenhower (Robin Williams). Going through the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan administrations, Cecil tries to serve his country the best he can while his son is out doing the work of a foot soldier in the Civil Rights fight. Cecil and his son Louis don’t see eye to eye on Civil Rights and becomes a strain on their relationship as well as the entire family.

I highly recommend The Butler, an above-average movie.

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