Saturday, August 24, 2013

Surprised by The Butler

Before I forget, I thought I'd take some time to tell y'all about a movie that I saw last week. You might've heard about it recently. It's called The Butler.

Seen Friday August 16th: The Butler

A man goes from being a sharecropper's son to serving 34 years as a butler in the White House, earning the trust and respect of 7 presidents. Serving from the mid 1950s to late 1980s, he experiences tumultuous times in American history twofold, witnessing both important decision-making at work and the effect of the Civil Rights Movement on his family at home. Based on a true story.
"One quiet voice can ignite a revolution."

 What I really like about this movie: The cast is perfect. Forest Whitaker plays the titular character, of course. It features an abundance of other brilliant actors and entertainers, and I don't think a single part was miscast. I was a little confused as to why they had Professor Snape playing Ronald Reagan, but even that proved to be a great decision.

You also get a nice lesson on Black history which, as the film presents it, is also American history. The passing of time in The Butler is executed in a similar style to that used in Forrest Gump. Popular figures and familiar television images appear to mark each passing era. Movements, trends, and important events are re-enacted, reflected in clothing and hairstyles, or mentioned in succinct and hard-hitting conversations. All of this is done in order to make the audience  more deeply invested in the past with each passing scene.

Overall, The Butler is so much more moving and intriguing than I'd expected it would be. I even cried at the end, and films rarely make me cry.  I predict there'll be a lot of debate among black folks about the concept of the "house negro" or the "Uncle Tom" due to this film. Of course, there are times when one must break the status quo and fight for what is right. However, I think this film has an equally important message about what it means to be a hero and what it means to serve. People laud "service" as a mark of a person's humanity, but often look down on "servants". But the most significant piece of wisdom I gained from The Butler is that you have to have a certain heart in order to serve others for so long with a cheerful attitude and be good at it.  Even if it means being disrespected by your family. Even if it means serving people whose actions counter your needs and beliefs. Even if it means not being appreciated. That's a lesson that I think many Americans could benefit from learning.

What I don't like about this movie: Nothing that needs to be expounded upon.

Would I recommend it?:  Absolutely!

No comments:

Post a Comment