Directed by Lee Daniels, written by Danny Strong, and including a massive ensemble cast of actors such as; Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David, Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding, Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Terrance Howard, Clarence Williams, III, and Jane Fonda-just to name a few.
Whitaker and Oyelowo, respectively).
Seeing the changes that happened in this country through both of the eyes of Cecil and Louis was both educational and uplifting. Louis couldn't understand the pride that Cecil had in being a butler in the White House while Cecil couldn't understand why Louis had to go out and fight against the system (ie marches, freedom rider, black panthers).
Although learning about Cecil Gaines life was at times hard to watch, learning about his childhood and how he came to be the butler was tastefully told. It reminds us that the truth is sometimes not something we want to hear but should hear. And also to put it bluntly, sometimes we need to get through a whole lot of ugly to get to some pretty.
Life can be hard and scary and tragic but it is how we decide to react to it and the decisions we make on how to live it that make a difference.
Cecil's life started out what we would deem as cruel, unjust, and depraved but he rises above that to be a good person and hard worker. Perhaps so much so that the biggest character flaws he has is that he gave too much and sometimes forgot to give to his own family in the process.
They say no man is an island and that is true. The character of Cecil Gaines teaches you that every man is great no matter his role in life and that we each need the support and wisdom of the other. You see that in the film as each President takes into account to various conversations he has with Mr. Gaines.
I cannot recommend this film enough. Everyone should see it. It truly is beautifully crafted. My hope is that many people will watch it so they can reflect on the past, be willing to learn about the past, or simply just reflect on themselves and how they have lived their lives thus far.
If you would like to learn more about the beautiful life of Mr. Eugene Allen (seen right above with the character of Cecil Gaines), you can find a copy of The Butler by Wil Haygood here. I will be reviewed this book soon as well, so keep your eyes peeled!
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