Lee Daniels' The Butler

Lee Daniels' The Butler Image
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics What's this?

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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 183 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 15, 2013
    100
    A brilliantly truthful film on a subject that is usually shrouded in wishful thinking, mythmongering and outright denial.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Aug 7, 2013
    83
    As Cecil, Whitaker is mesmerizing. The actor seems to shrink into his imposing frame, summoning a performance of quiet, bottled-up force.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 19, 2013
    75
    With The Butler, director Lee Daniels has managed to "Gump" the Civil Rights movement. That's not necessarily a bad thing but there are times when so many famous cameos threaten to become a distraction, especially since they're only tangentially germane to the main story.
  4. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Aug 13, 2013
    64
    Full of truth that's ultimately diluted by a lack of focus.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 14, 2013
    63
    Although director Lee Daniels dials things down a bit here, subtlety is not what he does. That strategy worked for “Precious’’ but turned his more recent “The Paperboy’’ into a feature-length howler.
  6. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Aug 19, 2013
    60
    The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
  7. Reviewed by: Katy Rich
    Aug 9, 2013
    40
    A great film about the American civil rights movement is way overdue. The Butler, overwhelmed by flash and good intentions, doesn't even come close.

See all 47 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 56
  2. Negative: 5 out of 56
  1. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    What a great movie! Great acting, writing and directing. I haven't seen a movie that I couldn't take my eyes off in a long time. This movie isWhat a great movie! Great acting, writing and directing. I haven't seen a movie that I couldn't take my eyes off in a long time. This movie is worth an Oscar. Cecil is a great actor. He is a great storyteller. I appreciate great work he put in the movie. It made me cry to learn what these people went through and it made me feel grateful for the way it is now. It shows you that America is becoming the best country now. Let's be grateful that all the people in this past made this change happen. All hate and segregation.. The people in the past changed that and made America into one. Overall, it is a masterpiece movie that I will always remember in my heart. Expand
  2. Mar 6, 2014
    10
    i love forest whitaker in this great movie . it tells compasion and sort of like 12 years of slave . and it is very great to learn abouti love forest whitaker in this great movie . it tells compasion and sort of like 12 years of slave . and it is very great to learn about what its like and see and feels what its like how someone who live in south had to deal with the way they where treating with . Expand
  3. Dec 22, 2015
    9
    A deeply moving melodrama about a subtly subversive black butler at the heart of the White House. You will need Kleenex.

    Watch this movie
    A deeply moving melodrama about a subtly subversive black butler at the heart of the White House. You will need Kleenex.

    Watch this movie here for free http://www.watchfree.to/watch-2052db-The-Butler-movie-online-free-putlocker.html
    Expand
  4. Aug 17, 2013
    8
    Though some of the casting choices seemed odd (John Cusack as Richard Nixon???), the principals of the film were in fine form. Forest WhitakerThough some of the casting choices seemed odd (John Cusack as Richard Nixon???), the principals of the film were in fine form. Forest Whitaker stars as the man who served as a White House butler during eight administrations, quietly watching the Civil Rights movement unfold. For me, however, the real standouts though were Oprah Winfrey (his wife), Terrence Howard (his neighbor), David Oyelowo (his oldest son) and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan.

    For the first half of the film, I was entranced by the scenes involving the fight for civil rights, but didn't embrace the central characters (mostly Whitaker) like I wanted to, BUT the last 45 minutes packed a punch that took me by surprise. Some amazing scenes close out this film, elevating it from "good" to "very good". History, politics, great acting and a "mute" Mariah Carey make this a must-see film. ***1/2 (out of 4)
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  5. Nov 24, 2013
    6
    This is a moving chronicle of a semi-fictionalized White House butler as seen through the civil rights movement. It has a fantastic montageThis is a moving chronicle of a semi-fictionalized White House butler as seen through the civil rights movement. It has a fantastic montage (or maybe more like a series of intercut scenes) of the black staff at the White House and the Freedom Riders in Alabama. It was one of the more amazing intercut sequences I've seen. I teared up twice during this movie. Whitaker is great.

    This movie is also an over-the-top melodrama. It is so melodramatic that, even given the subject matter, I'm calling it melodramatic.

    So I think a 6 is about right.

    The movie is a biopic/history series of events, with a few threads tying it together. But given the subject matter, I can't really fault it for not having a more traditional structure or conventional dramatic arc. If you're interested in the premise, go see it.
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  6. Jan 16, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Affermare che la montagna ha partorito il topolino potrà essere banale, ma il modo di dire viene subito in mente dopo aver assistito a questa fiera delle occasioni sprecate. Il racconto della vita di Cecil Gaines, dalle piantagioni di cotone degli anni Venti dove la schiavitù non era ancora finita all’elezione di un presidente nero, era sulla carta interessante perché consente di raccontare la difficile strada verso la parità della gente di colore attraverso gli occhi di un uomo che passa la maggior parte del suo tempo fra i bianchi, anzi nel cuore stesso del loro potere, la Casa Bianca. Cresciuto sottomesso e con una professione che richiede discrezione e invisibilità, Cecil si fa scorrere addosso la vicenda storica della ribellione della sua gente nella quale si infila invece con convinzione il figlio Louis che ne paga le conseguenze nei confronti della legge (botte e prigione) e del padre, che gli sarà per lungo tempo lontano. Ispirato a una figura realmente esistita, il protagonista è una brava persona che lavora sodo ed è attaccata alla famiglia, ma che fa carriera sottomettendosi e non ribellandosi per poi accorgersi troppo tardi che nella sua vità ci poteva essere spazio per qualcosa di più. Ecco, da tutto questo po’ po’ di spunti, il regista Lee Daniels e lo sceneggiatore Danny Strong ricavano un film quasi del tutto piatto dal punto di vista emozionale (la cosa più appassionante è, di gran lunga, il trailer) per colpa anche di una struttura troppo frammentata fatta di brevi momenti che qua e là tendono a ripetersi, come nel rapporto tra Gaines e la moglie Gloria. Non sempre è efficace neppure lo sfruttamento dei momenti topici che si intrecciano alla vita di Cecil: gli assassinii di Kennedy e Martin Luther King sono poco più che accennati e l’esistenza di un secondo figlio, Charlie, sembra servire solo a indicare che, ah sì, c’è stata anche la guerra del Vietnam. Le amnesie (clamorosa l’assenza di Malcolm X, citato di passaggio in una battuta) e le distorsioni storiche del cinema statunitense non hanno mai impedito di fare dei bei film, ma qui la visione è abbastanza superficiale da far sì che, ad esempio, i presidenti sembrino un po’ tutti uguali: apprezzabile la scelta di non ricercare la somiglianza a tutti i costi, ma restano figure bidimensionali con la sola eccezione del Nixon un po’ troppo affezionato alla bottiglia di John Cusack. L’attore è solo uno dei tanti che appaiono solo pochi minuti in un cast davvero esagerato che va da Robin Williams (Eisenowher) ad Alan Rickman (Reagan) e da Vanessa Redgrave (la padrona del piccolo Cecil) a Jane Fonda (probabilmente la migliore nell’impersonare un’energica Nancy Reagan), mentre un po’ più di spazio lo hanno Cuba Gooding Jr e Lenny Kravitz nei panni degli amici e colleghi del protagonista. La prestazioni degli attori è, comunque, la nota più positiva del film e questo vale soprattutto per i ruoli principali. Un dimagrito Forest Whitaker dimostra anche con Cecil Gaines di essere un interprete assai sottovalutato e, accanto a lui, Oprah Winfrey dà vita a Gloria con sorprendente gusto e sensibilità, costretta prima a sopportare le assenze del marito e poi a cercare di mediare tra lui e il figlio (David Oyelowo). Sono loro che, dando profondità ai rapporti interfamiliari igrazie a scene in cui anche la scrittura è più efficace, attirano comunque l’attenzione dello spettatore: certo, se il film terminasse con la presa di coscienza di Cecil sarebbe meglio, ma la pleonastica coda obamiana (che pure odora un po’ di propaganda) ha un suo senso nella chiusura di una fase storica in cui sono vissute e si sono confrontate due anime all’interno della comunità nera degli Stati Uniti. Forse un giorno qualcuno ci racconterà tale confronto con più efficacia, ora possiamo accontentarci di questo elegante (buona la fotografia di Andrew Dunn, incalzante la partitura di Rodrigo Leão) ma un po’ prolisso bigino Expand
  7. Jun 26, 2015
    0
    I'm giving this movie the lowest rating because of JANE FONDA... What she did in Vietnam makes her a traitor in my opinion, consequentlyI'm giving this movie the lowest rating because of JANE FONDA... What she did in Vietnam makes her a traitor in my opinion, consequently anything she is associated with, is not on my list of things to do... i. e. watch this movie... I 'm the movie is great, but you made a poor choice in one of your actors in my opinion. Expand

See all 56 User Reviews

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