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Lee Daniels' The Butler (I) (2013)
"The Butler" (original title)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  16 August 2013 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 62,774 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 292 user | 273 critic | 47 from Metacritic.com

As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.

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Title: Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 13 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Mr. Jenkins (as John Fertitta)
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White Usher
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Storyline

Cecil Gaines was a sharecropper's son who grew up in the 1920s as a domestic servant for the white family who casually destroyed his. Eventually striking out on his own, Cecil becomes a hotel valet of such efficiency and discreteness in the 1950s that he becomes a butler in the White House itself. There, Cecil would serve numerous US Presidents over the decades as a passive witness of history with the American Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum even as his family has troubles of its own. As his wife, Gloria, struggles with her addictions and his defiant eldest son, Louis, strives for a just world, Cecil must decide whether he should take action in his own way. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One quiet voice can ignite a revolution

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

16 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lee Daniels' The Butler  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,637,312 (USA) (16 August 2013)

Gross:

$116,631,310 (USA) (7 February 2014)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reunites Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker after 26 years of their first appearance together in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). See more »

Goofs

In the White House scenes from 1957, the U.S. flag has 50 stars. Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959, so the 1957 flag should have 48 stars. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cecil Gaines: The only thing I ever knew was cotton. It was hard work.
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Connections

Referenced in Real Time with Bill Maher: Episode #11.37 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Middle of the Night
Written by Keith McMasters, Fantasia Barrino, Kassim VonRico Washington, and Abel Terry
Performed by Fantasia Barrino
Produced by Keith "Mack" McMasters
For Lil' Mack Productions, LLC
Fantasia performs Courtesy of 19 Recordings / RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It could have been much better
19 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although the movie is based on a true story, a story that is very interesting, the producers couldn't leave it alone. Instead, they tampered with it so much that they made such an interesting story, uninteresting.

The only bright spot in the movie is Forest Whitaker. Given what he had to work with, he did a superb job of playing Eugene Allen. Allen was a humble man and Whitaker captures that humility. Originally, Denzel Washington was selected to play the part but it is unlikely that Washington, as good an actor as he is, could portray a humble man.

One of he big weaknesses in the film was the supporting cast. Oprah Winfrey was miscast as the butlers wife. That really distracted from Goines. Oprah came across as much too strong a personality as if the film was centered around her instead of Goines and her acting was mediocre. In real life, the story was about Allen, and not about his wife, but Oprah made the film as much about her as Allen. There are two explanations for writing the story to include Oprah. Either, the producers wanted her star power, or more likely, they needed her money to produce the film and had to cast her in the movie to get it.

Other than the strong performance by Whitaker, about the redeeming thing about the movie is that at least viewers are aware of the basic theme of the story, as fictionalized as it is, is that there was a butler of color that served eight presidents, was invited by one president to an official dinner, and got to see a man of color elected president. But we all could have learned that if it had been made a TV documentary rather than a crappy movie.


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Who else found the casting too distracting ? Dubdub1974
I almost stopped watching soon as... lloyda3
What was with the random Obama propganda? starcraftbw88
Editing of Scenes- Crude Joke tieuellegacy
How was Warner able to supress the Black staff's salaries for so long? angus052394
My take on why this film was ignored by the Oscars Figaro14
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