I enjoyed this movie, which is based on the true story of a White House butler who served seven presidents over thirty years, while his son actively worked in the civil rights movement in sit-ins, as a freedom rider, and with Martin Luther King.
It serves as a rather concise survey of the hard won fight for black freedom in the twentieth century. While I liked the book and movie The Help, this film better connects the viewer with the Civil Rights struggle as a legal and political one.
Early in this butler’s lifetime he saw his father, who had no rights, openly shot by a white man with no legal repercussions. Because of both the civil rights movement and hardworking level headed citizens like himself contributing positively to the country and quietly breaking down stereotypes, the butler eventually saw fellow African American President Obama in the White House. That is incredible, almost unimaginable change in one man’s lifetime, and the movie captures it well.
There are stars in this film like Oprah Winfrey and Robin Williams, and I loved the irony of Jane Fonda playing a good Nancy Reagan. This film tried to contrast the butler’s home life with that of his job, but I felt this could have been done more succinctly. However, overall, the movie is created in a way that you feel for this character, and have walked for a while in his shoes. And you are better for it. I give this film 4 stars.