The Butler: Film Review

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Editor’s Update: It was from watching the 2013 film, The Butler, that I first began to ponder who our modern heroes are. Shortly afterwards, I began this website. At that time, it was a curating blog, called Aware & Fair. The Butler movie review was one of the first posts I wrote. One thing I learned, from running the blog, is that there are many, many dedicated people and groups who are fighting for democracy and justice. The Progressive Movement has taken off since then. Well-known and everyday heroes are everywhere. ~ J.C. January 21, 2019


American History

“The Butler” is a story about the life and career of Cecil Gaines, African-American White House butler. He served through eight presidencies, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. You see a whole chunk of American history through his eyes: the Civil Rights Movement, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, and more.

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Personal Lives

The Butler is also about a father-son relationship. The riff between them is unbearably stretched when the son joins the Black Panthers.

Then, there are the revealing views of well-known personalities sprinkled throughout the movie. You see presidents, first ladies, Martin Luther King Jr., little Caroline Kennedy – close up.

The Butler is a truly great film. Because of the brilliant script, all-star cast, and insightful direction, the story unfolds with simplicity and elegance. It’s understated, yet incredibly deep, rich and full.

Personally, The Butler didn’t make me tear up. I actually sobbed. In the end, I realized the movie was about heroes, the famous ones and the ones we never heard about.

Official movie trailer: The Butler

The Real Man Behind the Story

The Butler is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, an African-American butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. His story first came to light in the 2008 Washington Post article A Butler Well Served By This Election, written by Wil Haygood.


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