The Wrong Side of History – The Butler [Short Review]

Lee Daniels’ The Butler – 2013 – dir. Lee Daniels


I was working this summer when The Butler came out so I only now got the chance to see it and that means my perception is tainted by having already seen 12 Years a Slave. This film got quite a lot of praise this summer and it doesn’t surprise me because it is completely unchallenging. By the end of the film it almost feels like racism is over because Barack Obama got elected president in 2008. The film is dedicated to those who “fought for our freedom in The Civil Rights Movement” even though the film dismisses the Black Panthers for the work they did at the time. There are so many problems with the history in this movie I can’t get my words around it, but the biggest problem is that the film’s sentimentality leads it away from the issues it was dealing with. The only nomination I think this should get at the oscars is for David Oyelowo who played the son in the film. It may be called the Butler but without his son’s political activism the film would be pure sentimentality without an ounce of message. 


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