THE BUTLER: THE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

We missed this one when it came out in the cinemas, but we managed to catch THE BUTLER for DVD/ Blu Ray release. Salty Kernel, Claire Smith, reviews this different angled white house film starring half of Hollywood. The cast is EPIC. Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Aml Ameen, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Vanessa Redgrave to name a few. Just WOW. THE BUTLER is releasing on DVD and Blu Ray tomorrow March 5th and thanks to the amazing folks at ENTERTAINMENT ONE HOPSCOTH we have 5X Copies to giveaway YAY!!! Suss after Kernel Claire’s review to find out how to win.

 

Danny Strong, Lee Daniels, The Butler, The Butler Review, Claire Smith, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Aml Ameen, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Redgrave
THE BUTLER: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

A sprawling epic that covers the (almost) real life story of the White House butler Cecil Gaines.

It’s Oscars season yet again and so we begin to see formulaic awards grabs coming through – actors gaining weight for a part, actresses losing weight for a part, epic war bio’s, heroic American pursuits – all lighting up the silver screen for the eyes of the panel of Academy Awards judges.

The Butler reads a lot like one of these grabs. A big name cast, tentative dabbling in apartheid themes, and a storyline featuring a character that overcomes more adversity than a burns victim in a beauty pageant.

 

Danny Strong, Lee Daniels, The Butler, The Butler Review, Claire Smith, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Aml Ameen, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Redgrave
THE BUTLER: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Born into slavery, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker – Platoon, The Last King of Scotland) watches on as his father is casually killed by his employer on the cotton farm. Out of pity, he is taken in by the matriarch of the household and is taught how to be a house “N-word” (apologies – “the N-Word” has too much hate, hurt and vitriol behind it and I won’t use it, even in reference to a quoted phrase).

Cecil grows up and moves on to a prestigious position of valet in one of the cities top hotels where he unknowingly impresses some visiting dignitaries with his ways of politely avoiding any talk of politics while still remaining a considerate and courteous member of the wait-staff. The dignitaries recommend him as a new starter on the hospitality team of The White House and the rest is history – or is it?

Although this movie reads like a timely biography of an insiders view to American History, a quick internet search will reveal that Cecil Gaines is loosely based on the real life White House butler Eugene Allen. Wikipedia comments that the link is tenuous at best and the only commonalities between the two stories is that each character was a butler who served in the White House.

 

Danny Strong, Lee Daniels, The Butler, The Butler Review, Claire Smith, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Aml Ameen, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Redgrave
THE BUTLER: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

So the lead character’s actuality may be questionable, but it is a unique way of seeing a side to American history that hasn’t previously been brought to the mainstream. Whitaker does a beautiful job of aging his character and working through the hardships of home – a wife struggling with her addictions, a son acting out – while still maintaining his discreet and professional persona at his employment. He serves for eight separate presidencies, and let me tell you, James Marsden (X-Men, Enchanted) does an absolutely standout job of portraying JFK.

Oprah Winfrey does a good job on a difficult role, Wife Gloria struggles with an addictive personality and while starchy at times, Winfrey brings a human quality to the character that would have been difficult to find.

There are some wonderful clean shots in this film. Beautiful close-ups of gloved hands dispensing silverware, or the choreography of wait staff setting a table, wonderful sprawling shots of the cavernous wonders of the White House and the bustle of the kitchen just meters away from historic meetings of the minds.

 

Danny Strong, Lee Daniels, The Butler, The Butler Review, Claire Smith, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, David Oyelowo, Liam Neeson, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Aml Ameen, Liev Schreiber, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Redgrave
THE BUTLER: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The film is a biography, so can feel a little sluggish at times, but it explores a wide range of American History – civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, Obama coming in to power. If you’re a history buff, you’ll be in your element and there’s a whole array of celebrity bit-parts to keep you occupied with conversations that revolve around “ohhh, it’s THAT guy!”

The Butler definitely wasn’t my favourite movie of the year – but it’s a wonderful (if not a little fabricated) story of another view of history.

 

3 Pops

 

With special thanks to Entertainment One Hopscotch to win one of the 5 x copies of the DVD of  THE BUTLER you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite “WHITE HOUSE” film and why?  

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media :)

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next week. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.