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Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

           In this historical drama "based on a true story," director Lee Daniels tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a butler in the White House who served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986. The movie is based on the real life of Eugene Allen. There are the inevitable questions about what's true and what's fiction, but we can be sure that real life for blacks during this period was far worse than any cinematic version. Cecil and his wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) find their family in the maelstrom of America's civil rights movement, albeit from an unusual vantage point. Cecil's son thinks dad is a subservient sellout, a passive servant at the White House who earned 40% less than whites there, and whose job description required him to be "invisible." Cecil ostracizes his son when he joins the civil rights subversives. There were no easy answers for blacks in those days. Daniels' film will draw comparisons with his previous controversial film Precious (2009), and also The Help (2011).

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