Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) grew up on a cotton farm. When he finally leaves that horrible place, he gets a job as a butler at a hotel and eventually works his way up to becoming a butler at the White House. Cecil served eight presidencies. He does his job well, but he's conflicted when his oldest son, Louis (played mostly by David Oyelowo) joins a group that is fighting for their civil rights in the south. Obviously he's concerned about all the danger there, but Louis wants to do what's right.
This film was very moving. I'm finding it quite hard to put it into words. Like all of Lee Daniels' movies, this felt raw and at times a little to real. Civil rights movies are always hard to watch. It's disgusting to see our fellow humans act that way. Daniels isn't shy with showing us the ugly side of all of this, but he does sneak in some really sweet and affectionate scenes every now and then. The score at the end of the film was so spectacular I almost think it deserved a standing ovation.
Whitaker gives a fine performance, as does Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey who plays his wife. This film is littered with cameos from Robin Williams, James Marsden, John Cusak, Liev Schriber, and Alan Rickman playing past Presidents. To Nelis Ellis playin Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A great supporting cast featuring Lenny Kravitz, Elijah Kelley, Cuba Gooding Jr. The only bad part is we're subject to a few minutes of Terrence Howard and Alex Pettyfer.
Will this film be a big Oscar contender? Maybe. It definitely feels like one. I continue to be a big fan of Lee Daniels' work. I can't wait to see what he does next.
Memorable Quote: "Don't use that word, it's a white man's word and full of hate."