The Butler and Social Progress: A Lesson in Opposites


Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Forest WhitakerIn Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Cecil Gaines and his son want the same thing: equal protection under the law. The film is an important reminder that there are many different ways to play a significant part in achieving that dream.

Forest Whitaker delivers a commanding performance as Cecil Gaines — the fictional character loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who grew up on a plantation and became a butler at the White House, where he served eight consecutive presidents. Cecil is a master of his emotions and has a deep understanding of his place in the social order: whether on the farm or in the Oval Office, his job is always to be in the room without being noticed.

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