• Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

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Release Date: August 16th, 2013

DVD Release Date: January 14th, 2014

PG-13|2 hr 12 min

Plot Summary
After leaving the South as a young man and finding employment at an elite hotel in Washington, D.C., Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is hired as a butler at the White House. Over the course of three decades, Cecil has a front-row seat to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office. However, his commitment to his "First Family" leads to tension at home, alienating his wife (Oprah Winfrey) and causing conflict with his anti-establishment son.

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden

Director: Lee Daniels

Genres: Historical drama

Production Co: Laura Ziskin Productions

Distributors: Weinstein Co.

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Ratings & Reviews

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  • For all its faults - and there are many, from shameless compression of events to milk the drama for all it's worth, to the gimmicky miscasting of several commanders-in-chief (Robin Williams as Eisenhower is especially egregious) - The Butler is an inspiring and important summation of the black struggle. show more

  • The butler, Cecil Gaines, is a fictional creation, an African-American Forrest Gump who bears special witness to the civil-rights movement while serving on the White House staff under seven presidents. The contrivance is stretched to its breaking point over a running time of 132 minutes; some of the episodes cross a different line from almost plausible to downright silly. That's not the whole story, though. show more

  • Inspiring if not inspired, Lee Daniels' The Butler is a sort of Readers' Digest overview of the 20th century American civil rights movement centered on an ordinary individual with an extraordinary perspective. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

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