After seeing previews, and then a snippet of interview on Charlie Rose, I really wanted to see “The Butler,” and I did.
This was without reading any reviews first, something I almost always do.
I can’t remember being this moved during a movie since Seasbiscuit (another movie I dearly loved, if that tells you anything).
I love low budget, artsy, indie films, and I’ve seen quite a few recently. I love Woody Allen films.
This is not that.
I generally catch the movies that get the Oscar nominations, and I’ll be curious to see if this film, having had a summer release, will be around then.
I rarely see action or sci fi or animation.
It’s full of movie stars, exquisitely made, with awesome acting and a powerful story. After the show, I read some reviews and was a little surprised. [Salon, Ebert, Rotten Tomatoes]
Critics are not pronouncing to be the masterpiece I thought I had witnessed. They say it’s good, but uneven in style, spotty with history, and formulaic.
My review is simple. The opening sequence caused a surge of sympathy for Cecil Gaines (Forrest Whitaker), that increased throughout. I got choked up every five minutes for the entire two hours. The story was compelling and well-told (familiar history from a new, fresh perspective). I completely left my life, went blank, forgot Oprah was Oprah, and forgot who I was and where I was.
When I get that caught up in a story, and my experience of it, I call that great movie.