Monday, January 18, 2016

Movie Monday... Lee Daniel's The Butler

Hello Lovely Readers,

This post is dedicated to the wonderful Alan Rickman... who I fell in love with as Colonel Brandon.
Last week after hearing of his passing I went home and searched Netflix to see what films they had of his on. One of his films is Bottle shock, which if you haven't seen it is great, but I have seen it a few times and at that moment didn't feel the need to re-watch it.

 He has some great lines in it...
Another one of his films on Netflix was Lee Daniel's The Butler, it had been on my list for awhile but I never got around to watching it... so I wanted to check it out and see how Alan Rickman fit into the casting. Just to let you know he plays Ronald Regan and is really only in the film maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but was still a powerful movie.
{Alan Rickman as Ronald Regan}
I know there are a lot of racial issues in the film that I don't feel adequate to discuss...that almost made me not want to write this post. However, I think it is important for the lessons of the past to continue on to the present.
I don't like to consider myself an ignorant person (I guess no one does) but as history lover sometimes I will admit I like to sugar coat things or romanticize things... but there has been lots of struggles in our country and I think it is important to remember them because if we don't we will continue our ignorance. I think what got to me the most was just the hatred that exists in people (I almost typed "existed" but I know hatred still goes on). Which, I think is so sad because over and over again we are told that we are all God's children and God died for us... so how can we hate? I am not saying I don't have this down perfectly but I found this film to be a good reminder of how a little hate can become a big hate.


Okay I will step off my soap box and will now discuss the film... the casting was great from Forest Whitaker playing Cecil Gaines to Robin Williams playing President Eisenhower. I felt the story did a great job of showing the transition in time in the costuming, hair and makeup, and setting of the Gaines' home to the decorations of the White House. I also think the movie showed a great transition of what one man and what one family can go through to make a difference in small and big ways.

{Lenny Kravitz as James Halloway}
The movie starts in 1926 where we see Cecil's father shot in cold blood for standing up to the boss's son, which shocked me and then a few minutes later see two African American being hung. Yeah it really takes your breath away... So don't watch if faint of heart. But Cecil gets out of the situation and grows up to be a strong worker and though some think he is being "subservient" he is doing his best with the situation he has born in. We watch his son Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo) become more political doing protesting, freedom rides, and he gets beaten up, thrown in jail, attacked by KKK. (Yeah this is the part where the hatred comes in and it was hard to watch).
Over the course of the film both men grow... one learns not be so quiet and one learns to work more withing the system to effect change. But beyond the lives of these two men times continue to change and stories continue to unfold. I found it amazing to watch how much the country and even the world can change within a few decades.

Not to detract from the story, there was just a few details issues I that made me question it... the biggest one being James Marsden playing President Kennedy, as much as I think James Marsden is gorgeous I don't know if he looks like John F. Kennedy.

I also did not like that at the end it felt a little to political and that it was pushing an agenda. However, I will not let these facts detract from the powerful story it told. It is rated PG-13 for some language and powerful image (I would say the language that got me the most was how many times they used the N-word).

As this post is dedicated to Alan Rickman- I wanted to share this short interview of his I found on making this movie...

Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Glad you've seen this movie! And very timely to write about it on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Like you, I thought the actor choice for Kennedy was the weakest. But really enjoyed seeing the portrayals of so many actors/actresses as our presidents and their wives.