I will admit that the original reason for going to see The Butler was that Alan The God Rickman was one of the stars. However by the time that he appeared on screen the other characters and the intertwining stories lines had me gripped.
As a student I struggled and disliked 20th century history with the exception of American 20th century events. One of the reasons US history in this period appeal are clearly seen in the themes of this film; I found the history of American Civil Rights movement shocking, sad, brave and inspiring.
Forest Whitaker’s performances as Ceasar, the Whitehouse butler who escaped the cotton picking south and worked hard in hotel industry learning his trade until he is discovered by a Whitehouse Scout looking for a new butler.
Oprah Winfrey gives a brilliant performance as does Robin Williams as President D Eisenhower and of course Alan Rickman as Actor come President Ronald Regan. (The hair and make up were scarily accurate)
As well witnessing some amazing events at work, in private Ceasar struggles with this eldest son; he is heavily involved in the Civil rights movement, riding the Freedom bus, imprisoned numerous times and helps form the Black Panther party. His younger son goes to Vietnam and like so many didn’t come back.
This film is well timed with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.
There are some amusing moments in the film as well as the sometimes tough storylines, president Lyndon Johnson constipated on the toilet asking for prune juice with his basset hounds at his feet was unforgettable.
The use of news coverage for the various events in the film gave it gravitas and highlighted how future historians may research stories.
This is up there in the top 5 films I have seen. Highly recommended