“The Butler” A Review and Beyond
A couple of days ago, I saw The Butler. No matter how much one thinks they know about history, there will inevitably be something that rises to the surface to let you know you haven’t scratched it.
At first I did not pay close attention to the demographic of the people in the theater. However there was a delay due to technical difficulty, which gave me an opportunity to actually look around and see who was there. My friend and I went to an mid-morning show; it was very balanced by gender and race, the age range was (in my opinion) across the board 50-somethings and you can imagine why.
Based on the life-story of Eugene Allen; the movie had all the intensity and impact of that which is genuine. It grabs you within the first five minutes and jars your soul, then it slowly brings you back with astounding and amazing experiences. You will be oblivious to the fact, this is not a real person. End credits and research afterwards brought this back into my recollection.
I tried to think as I watched the story unfold; overcome with emotion I abandoned any hope of connecting facts and information, the objective now was for me to allow myself to simply feel. How must one feel to be opinion-less in an environment of the opinionated, colorblind in a sea of color coded reality, silent and invisible all the while wanting to scream.
The movie began when the character Cecil was a child, the era when my own father was a child; my heart ached as I came to terms with what was probably my father’s reality during that period in America. I tried to escape my emotions as I watched the Presidents, I was aware of, and the events that were taking place during their terms in office. Civil Rights Movement, Assassinations, Vietnam War, Impeachment and “Reganomics”. I reflected on how these historic events touched my life and affected me. I could not fathom what it would have been like, right there at the pulse of these very same events and be stifled. Life does not allow spectators, you HAVE to be an active participant and there are no exceptions. The film did a great job of depicting the turmoil and challenges of an individual placed in a position that went against numerous natural and human reactions.
I wondered what went on in the hearts and minds of an overall unjust people, in the presence of the people their group actively oppressed and harmed. I questioned if they had any idea about what risks they took, entrusting their very lives and lives of their loved ones, with people who had nothing but overwhelming reason to want to destroy their very being. I thought,” what a sad, sick society we live(d) in.” Then I related to the “two faces” one must display(and generally does) in the presence of the group in power.
I wondered what the audience in the theater with me thought of the film. All of my friends and family who have seen “The Butler“heralded it wonderful, in short. It is a box office smash, therefore it can be deemed a success. The movie made a tremendous mark upon me and I only hope it has the same effect on all who see it. If that happens it then can be said, “mission accomplished”.