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Darkest Hour
in select cities on
November 22, 2017

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Darkest Hour

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The Butler ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛

The Butler feels like an epic journey that begins during the Truman era and goes straight through Barack Obama, making you feel like it’s the first official Oscar contender of the season.   Directed by Lee Daniel’s who brought us Precious comes the based on a true) story of a slave boy, Cecil Gaine (Forest Whitaker) who grows up to be a butler in the White House. 

Cecil’s wife is portrayed by Oprah Winfrey in her first comeback in years.  They raise two sons, though one of them represents the civil rights – from the Freedom Ride to the Black Panthers, seemingly showing up at every turn of black history from Martin Luther King to Malcolm X, disappointing his father, Cecil who has learned to live with two faces: The one he puts on for white folks and the one for his black friends and family.   But there is disappoint for his son too, who only sees his father as a “house negro.”

We’re inspired and hopeful for Cecil who learns his trade from his very early years when Vanessa Redgrave takes him into her home (and after his father is murdered by her son) teaching him that “The room should feel empty when you’re in it.” Soon Ceil grows from a hotel in D.C. – where a White House employee follows Cecil – and takes him to Pennsylvania Ave, where life couldn’t get any better. 

At times we feel like we’re watching Forrest Gump when The Butler happens to make a comment that changes the course of history but overall it’s a tender story of his tale, while the Presidents are seamlessly woven in as backdrop.  Robin Williams portrays Eisenhower, Alan Rickman portrays a really believable Reagan (with Jane Fonda as his wife) while John Cusack is a lesser believed Richard Nixon.  Bit its Cuba Gooding and an unrecognizable Lenny Kravitz as his secondary butlers that steal the show as Cecil’s friends. 

Whitaker is larger than life in his very small and humbling performance. The type of role that undoubtedly says “And the nominees are….”  ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛

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