When you think “summer blockbuster” your mind naturally goes to Marvel superheroes saving the president from the latest assault on the White House. Lee Daniels’ The Butler, however, proved to be a very different brand of summer hit this year. Yes, the president is involved—seven of them, in fact—but in this film we get a very different hero and an absolutely unique perspective on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler tells the story of Cecil Gaines, played by Forest Whitaker, who serves as a butler at the White House from 1957 to 1986. Through the Kennedy assassination to the protests against Vietnam to the Civil Rights Movement, he was there for it all, and as portrayed by Oscar-winner Whitaker, you feel exactly what that means. The ensemble cast also includes Oprah Winfrey as Gaines’ wife, David Oyelowo as his son, and a host of stars including Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, and Terrence Howard in supporting roles.
In addition to the cast members named above, Lee Daniels’ The Butler features John Cusack, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams. This brilliant ensemble portrays both historical characters and fictional, as the story moves in and out of the intimacy of Gaines’ family to the global stage of the White House. Critics like the Boston Globe, New York Post and Rolling Stone have all been singing the praises of the actors, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling them “one of the most amazing ensemble casts.”
Click below to watch the trailer, and if you haven’t yet seen the film, it is back in theaters right now. Get your tickets here.