There are moments in The Butler -- excuse me, Lee Daniels' The Butler -- that make you cringe a little because they're so on the nose.
And yet I walked away from Daniels' film deeply moved. As obvious as this film can be in its messages -- bigotry and racism: bad -- it still touches on moments of history from the recent past that need to be recalled, over and over.
It's too easy to forget how recently the events of this film occurred, given that the story starts in the 1920s but focuses mainly on years between the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s and the Reagan years of the 1980s. It's also easy, as the U.S. Supreme Court did recently, to assume that things have changed drastically in our attitudes toward race in the interim.
But Daniels' earnest and passionate film keeps forcing you to look at the story from another angle. Where The Help (which was set in 1963 Mississippi) told that story of painful but necessary social change through the eyes of a white character, The Butler finds a more relevant witness to history. Read More...