Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Entertainment Reviews

September 23, 2013

‘The Butler’ lost amid powerful performances

Movie Review

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Dramatic emphasis is one element of historical film making forgiven more often than not as long as the end result provides a tolerable tribute through entertainment. Increasingly popular uses of such emphasis is the “Civil Rights Era” as it is one of the most compelling time periods to comment on the dark depths a human soul will descend.

The year has already produced one winner with the Jackie Robinson inspired “42,” a biographical submission I would certainly nominate as at least a contender for best picture. Today’s subject follows a similar path, inspired this time by a real individual named “Eugene Allen,” who lived as an example of severe inequalities and overcame them by earning the respect of several of our nations most celebrated presidents. “The Butler” cannot be denied certain level of admiration for approaching what is still an uncomfortable discussion, but perhaps misses a few marks by almost burying the very figure we should salute.

Audiences should be aware that the film starts off right away with the first example that was not exactly drawn from real life with the traumatic Macon, Georgia childhood of our butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker). A commentary of how rough servitude could be even years after slavery was outlawed; his best chance at survival turns out to be getting as far away from that bleak plantation in a “Forrest Gump” like journey where he must make the best of a world that would just as soon trample him beneath their feet.

The butler’s best lot even as he ends up out of the south is to serve the upper crust of white society, eventually working his way to the Whitehouse in Washington D.C. Quite a bit of this is done in a compelling way through the characters he interacts with from his wife Gloria Gaines (Oprah Winfrey) to his co-workers like fellow white house staff, Carter Wilson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). What takes away not so much in a bad way, but rather distracting fashion, is the again fictionalized struggles of his eldest son Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo), who seems to have to, despite his father’s concern, be a civil rights superhero through every event in the 1960s from being Martin Luther King’s best bud to a black panther.

Text Only
Entertainment Reviews
Business Marquee

e-Edition
  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.

     

    CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE E-EDITION SITE

     

    ATTENTION CURRENT DEMOCRAT SUBSCRIBERS TO START an e-EDITION

    e-mail request to sjohnson@pvdemocrat.com

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Stocks
Facebook