By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Lee Daniels.
Written by: Danny Strong.
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Starring: Forest Whitaker (Cecil Gaines, The Butler), Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines) and David Oyelowo (Louis Gaines).
Running Time: 132 minutes.
What makes some films good and others excellent is the director’s ability to handle “little details” properly. If you want to learn about movies, about how excellent movies are made etc., I recommend you to see The Butler (2013) and not because this film reached that level (it is just good), but to observe how to focus too much attention on the main idea of its plot prevented it from being excellent.
The Butler (2013) is the story of a black person who worked at the White House as a butler and served eight American presidents. Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) worked there over three decades withstanding racism and marginalization during the most difficult periods of racial segregation in the United States. And what is the problem? The movie was made as if everybody wanted to be in safe territory, something like having a glass of white wine if you have fish for dinner or red wine if you have steak. It seems that nobody wanted to take risks: Racism? No, problem. Put some scenes of torture, protests and Ku Klux Klan together and everything is going to be fine.
Instead of the same tired old clichés, it would have been very interesting to see the story revolving around the parallel lives that Cecil Gaines (The Butler) and his son, Louis Gaines were living. The father thought that the best way to fight for black people was to protect his family while his son thought different and tried to mobilize the masses. I know that this idea had been more difficult and uncertain in terms of good results, but remember that you don’t make excellent movies or receive an Oscar with hackneyed ideas. Finally, enjoy the good work done by Forest Whitaker and pay special attention to the final minute of the movie when a young man is trying to show him the way: It is a profound learning experience.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper WORLD AND OPINION with Eddy Montilla.
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