Let me start by saying I am from the UK and pretty much all I know about the American Civil Rights Movement is from movies. However, when I saw The Butler while I was flicking through Amazon Prime a while back and saw the stacked cast and it was led by Forest Whitaker (check him out in Black Panther and Big George Foreman) of whom I am a huge fan, I decided to give it a shot. I am glad I did as this is a fantastic movie!
How to Download The Butler
The Butler was released on August 16, 2013. You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.
Movie Review: An Unexpected Discovery
Before I get to my thoughts on the movie and the stacked cast, I have to tell you about something that blew my mind. After watching the movie, I jumped online to learn a bit more about it, yes, it is very interesting how this is loosely based on a true story. Yet what blew my mind was this was written by the dude who played Jonathan in Buffy and he is a major Hollywood writer! I had no idea and he has actually done a lot of stuff that I have seen and loved over the years! Hey, you really do learn something new every day!
Cecil Gaines: A Life of Service
The plot of the movie is about a man called Cecil Gaines who is played by Forest Whitaker. Cecil lived on a cotton plantation as a boy and saw his father killed and he ends up being taken in and trained as a house servant. We see Cecil as a young man trying to do what he can to survive and he ends up getting a job at a pastry shop where a kind old guy teaches him how to be personable and serve people.
A Journey Through History
Cecil eventually ends up working at the White House as a butler and we get to experience his life throughout several US presidents. The movie is about his life and the major events that occurred in it such as getting married and the birth of his sons. He narrates the story too which makes it feel like you are sitting in the room with him as he tells you the story of his life.
Historical Events and Family Struggles
What is really clever about the movie is that we get to see all of these major world events happening as well. The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights movement, the assassination of JFK, and a few more key events are pretty big parts of the movie. It is all told very, very well and even with a runtime of just over two hours, the movie flew by.
We also see the troubles with his own family. One of his sons wanted to fight in Vietnam and the other one decided to join The Black Panthers and had a very strained relationship with him. I think that Cecil is a very complex and interesting character and it is one of the best performances I have ever seen from Forest Whittaker.
An Epic Cast
I do want to touch on the cast that this movie has. Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding JR, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Terrance Howard and probably about 10 to 15 more major Hollywood stars are in this movie. Honestly, I have just touched the tip of the iceberg with the names that I have mentioned here. I do not think I have ever seen a movie with a cast as epic as this.
A Captivating and Powerful Film
While I cannot say how historically accurate The Butler is and I have read some complaints about this. I can say that I was completely captivated by the life of this man. Not only that, but the different parts of time that the movie goes between were all interesting and engaging in different ways. If you want a powerful movie that is going to stick with you for a few days after watching it, I highly recommend you check out The Butler.
- This is the best Forest Whitaker performance I have seen, even better than Blood Sport!
- The movie showcases many major events from history
- The story of Cecil Gaines is fascinating to experience
- This movie has the most stacked cast I have ever seen!
- I have read that some things are not historically accurate at all in this movie
- Some of the more hard hitting parts of the movie might be hard for some people to sit through