So. Sure there was A LOT of Hollywood type stuff in "The Butler." And sure, there were parts made more facile than what was. And sure, one could poop and poke and pick at this movie.
But for me, not much interested in doing that. I found it a bit of a time machine, taking me back to much I have seen pass in my life time, regarding civil rights. And oh Lord, that's been a long, troubled and violent path, one easy to forget sometimes, and one this movie refreshes your memory about.
For those who have seen this movie, and those of a certain age, do you not remember that antiquated, softened square of a TV tube this movie presents so well as the only thing we had to report? I do.
And, I do remember the fight for black civil rights which extended through my childhood, and my coming of age, and well, most of my life, and still battles today, no matter how much the SCOTUS thinks it's no matter mind these days. As the mother of a gay son, I can only say that I am thankful that his battle for civil rights has not been as long or painful, or protracted once it got rolling, in HIS lifetime. Before that, of course, it was a nightmare to many.
Still I think, if I had ever had to watch my son subjected to the things many a black mother and father watched their own subjected to, I might just have curled up and died. I just can't say how much this lily white gal respects the fight and pain of her fellow black citizens, even if she never lived it and says so with all due humility.
And the incredible ability to keep on keepin' on. That's what's present every minute of this film, and it was so humbling to me. Oh my God, the things we white folks will never know, and I salute this movie for trying to give us just a taste of it in just two hours. Not the first film to do so, but there can NEVER be enough films to answer to this part of our failure as a country, until we're not failing there anymore.
You know, Jewish folks say, "never again." And I hope this movie says that to many in its own way---white, black, hispanic, asian and every darn color of the rainbow and every color or religion, NEVER AGAIN.
And I cheer the power of movies in this way, every one of them that tries, in just two hours, to make its message clear. This is just one more movie, ardently shepherded throughout its process, with all the parameters of time and money to tell its story. If you're a movie buff like I am, you understand the incredible goal some movie makers take on.
(And as an aside, this movie has one long hullabaloo of top names, every one of them imo, surprising in their roles. But after all is said and done, imo, Forest Whitaker and Oprah take the top prize. Yes, imo, Oprah is freaking amazing in this film. And Forest Whitaker,---well, he took my breath away.)
I know that I will die before this is all settled out, but still, I do celebrate every movie and every director, producer, actor and all the rest, who tried to remind us in our own life times, what happened...at the movies.