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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 136 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
    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
    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
    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
    Full of truth that's ultimately diluted by a lack of focus.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 14, 2013
    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
    The Butler is a lightweight, didactic movie, a kind of well-produced high-school entertainment.
  7. Reviewed by: Katy Rich
    Aug 9, 2013
    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: 32 out of 46
  2. Negative: 4 out of 46
  1. Aug 22, 2013
    For all its contrivances, though not many, this is one great film on race that tells the story in a way that has never been told before. Every performance is outstanding. I suggest you bring an entire box of tissues. Expand
  2. Jan 17, 2014
    Even though most of the events in this film were greatly exaggerated from the actual events of the man who inspired the film, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” tells an engaging and dramatic story and is overflowing with talent from an exceptional cast. Expand
  3. Sep 12, 2013
    I really liked this movie... It was well acted and had a great story attached to it. It was, however, sad to see such a self absorbed society that treated people so poorly. I must say that I find it inspirational how this man lifted himself above the reproach of such a cruel society. I was impressed with his moral out look and his tenacity to stay focused on importance of job and family even though he had to fight through much racism. This is a great movie. Expand
  4. Jan 7, 2014
    O filme se ergue graças a boa atuação de Forest Whitaker, que leva o filme nas costas Expand
  5. Oct 1, 2013
    Great story with unique vantage and fine actors, but too didactic and a bit contrived, as if Cecil were a black Forrest Gump. Makeup is horrific and got in the way of the film Expand
  6. Sep 2, 2013
    Somewhat enjoyable film. Just Oprah needs to get the facts straight. If Hollywood could come up with a historical movie and actually get all the facts right I would give that movie a 10 even if it were not the most entertaining movie ever made. This revisionist history lesson is one step over Forrest Gump in accuracy. Of course it has to end with Oprah's little baby she helped create called Obama. I am surprised he did not make a cameo with all the free press. That with the butler having retired during the Reagan years. Oh and of course lets knock Reagan too in the movie because all white people in the film are reduced to a level of the Jefferson's neighbor in a 70's sitcom. Expand
  7. Oct 1, 2013
    This movie is well done and Forest Whitaker gives a great performance, but I'm giving it a 1 because it just undeniably racist. Okay reference Obama great that's cool, first black president is a big deal I understand that. When you say that Reagan, one of the greatest presidents ever, was a racist...that pisses me off. There is no reason to have put that in the story. It's wrong and frankly just a low, pointless act of racism. White people can't do anything about it though but just wow, based a true story? Right, this is why racism still exists. Expand

See all 46 User Reviews