The Butler

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caitlinmorton

The Butler

#1 Post by caitlinmorton » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:14 pm

My friend and I got day tickets to a matinee showing of Mojo this morning, and saw this to kill the time as the timings worked out perfectly.

Thought it was very good, very well cast, especially [spoiler]Robin Williams as Eisenhower, Liev Schreiber as LBJ, Minka Kelly as Jackie Kennedy, and Alan Rickman (OH MY GOD ALAN RICKMAN) as Ronald Reagan.[/spoiler]

Forrest Whittaker gave a great performance, as did Oprah.

I think unfortunately this year the awards competition is too much and it will be passed up (12 Years a Slave pretty much has all the awards on lockdown if I may say so) but should get nominations and regardless still a great film. Was very excited to see what my American friends and family have been talking about since August. Worth a watch, and worth the money.

Ms Thrifty

Re: The Butler

#2 Post by Ms Thrifty » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:29 pm

Saw this free today as the second feature in my Sweet Sundays double bill, and was glad this succeeded Captain Phillips rather than preceding it. I was surprised to find a really packed auditorium, as my local Cineworld seemed to be showing various versions of Gravity in at least 3 screens - maybe some people couldn't get in and defaulted to this, unless it has received more publicity than I'm aware of.

A perfectly decent Hollywood version of history, i.e. packaged for mass-market appeal, including much artistic licence taken with the facts, presumably to add drama, though the story could surely have stood on its own, albeit as a different sort of film and a more subtle one. The procession of past presidents was fascinating, but I was amazed to read caitlinmorton's spoiler, as I would never have guessed the identities of the two actors playing LBJ and Ronald Reagan - and in the latter case, I'm still struggling to believe it even now!

Edit: score 7.5
Last edited by Ms Thrifty on Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

caitlinmorton

Re: The Butler

#3 Post by caitlinmorton » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:43 pm

Ms Thrifty wrote:The procession of past presidents was fascinating, but I was amazed to read caitlinmorton's spoiler, as I would never have guessed the identities of the two actors playing LBJ and Ronald Reagan - and in the latter case, I'm still struggling to believe it even now!
I know right!!! But he was great, wasn't he? :P

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Re: The Butler

#4 Post by stuartboy » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:28 pm

I, too, saw this as part of a Sweet Sunday double bill. I knew what to expect and it fulfilled - an American historical drama about a butler in the White House during the reign of 8 presidents over 3 decades. This is based on true events and unfortunately it played as such - real life - in that it didn't really tell much of a story more it simply chronicled a period in someone's life (interesting though it was). There wasn't really a begining or an end. That said it was a fascinating film and I loved the succession of cameos. The cast reads as a veritable who's who of Hollywood.
It was astonishing how the main protagonist was made to age convincingly, and the succession of presidents was aslo believeable and convincing. I wonder if it was something to do with them all being familiar actors that lead to their credibility in that you recognised familiarity in their faces. Ronald Reagan was especially good. I was however convinced that he was Dustin Hoffman (there was a Hoffman in the credits too) but as above I've discovered I was wrong.

This is a long film and apart from the passage of time it doesn't actually go anywhere.

Still it is a good 7/10 from me.
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Re: The Butler

#5 Post by Ms Thrifty » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:55 am

I think the main character, i.e. Cecil Gaines, does actually undergo a personal journey. Would be spoiling it for others to explain how, but certainly in terms of his relationship with his elder son, surely? Though that could also have been treacly tweaking rather than truth.

caitlinmorton

Re: The Butler

#6 Post by caitlinmorton » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:14 pm

To be fair, they made a lot up.

[spoiler]His father was not murdered and his mother raped on the cotton farm. He only had one son, and I don't think he was a civil rights activist. There's also a lot of criticism regarding the film's portrayal of President Reagan.[/spoiler]

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Re: The Butler

#7 Post by stuartboy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:50 pm

caitlinmorton wrote:To be fair, they made a lot up.

[spoiler]His father was not murdered and his mother raped on the cotton farm. He only had one son, and I don't think he was a civil rights activist. There's also a lot of criticism regarding the film's portrayal of President Reagan.[/spoiler]
So more Forest Gump than Forest Whittaker?
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Re: The Butler

#8 Post by caitlinmorton » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:51 pm

The more I read about it the less I like the film.

[spoiler]Though Alan Rickman still kills me.[/spoiler]

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Re: The Butler

#9 Post by McG » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:01 pm

Saw this tonight using free ticket. Long film. Interesting or perhaps shocking to see how life was in America in the fairly recent past ie 50 years. The relationship between Cecil and his wife and son was used to document the change in racial attitudes. Forest Whittaker was very good and aged very well by the make up department.
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Re: The Butler

#10 Post by Celini » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:11 pm

No way! His name was "Cecil"??? I was wondering for the entire run of the movie how I would write "Sisol"

I found it OK, not great but definitely watchable. I don't think it works as well as Forest Gump did for me (FG is still one of my favourite movies) and I found the succession of obligatory anecdotes a bit too much at time. Very good performances from everyone involved, athough I seem to be a minority here, but I was not very impressed by Alan Rickman's portrayal of Reagan, a bit too Rickmanish for my taste!

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