Watch The Butler
- 2 hr 12 min
The Butler is a 2013 historical drama film directed by Lee Daniels and based on the life of Eugene Allen, a Black man who served as a White House butler for over three decades. The film stars Forest Whitaker as the titular character, Cecil Gaines, Oprah Winfrey as his wife, Gloria, and John Cusack as President Richard Nixon. The film chronicles Cecil's life from his childhood as a sharecropper's son in the 1920s to his retirement in the 1980s. After witnessing the brutal murder of his father, Cecil is taken in by the plantation owner's wife, who trains him to be a house servant. As a young adult, Cecil leaves the plantation and finds work as a butler in a hotel, where he catches the eye of a White House staffer who recruits him to be a butler in the Executive Mansion. As Cecil serves under eight presidents, he witnesses and participates in some of the most significant events in American history, including the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. Along the way, he grapples with the contradictions of his position - working for the White House while fighting for civil rights outside it - and the toll it takes on his family, particularly his son, who joins the Black Panthers. Through Cecil's eyes, the film provides a sweeping and intimate look at the struggles and triumphs of Black Americans during the twentieth century. It features a star-studded cast, with performances by Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard, and Jane Fonda, among others. At its heart, The Butler is a powerful tribute to the courage and sacrifices of ordinary people who fought for justice and dignity in the face of great adversity. It is a testament to the resilience and persistence of the human spirit, and a call to action for a more just and equitable society.