University of Hertfordshire

The Butler: A Film Review

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  • Jodi Nelson
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)171-190
JournalJournal of American Studies of Turkey JAST
Journal publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


The Butler is a historical fiction drama loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen. Directed by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who serves eight Presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House. Growing up a slave in the poor south and witnessing the murder of his father motivated him to pursue opportunities, which would eventually allow him to escape oppression and limitations due to his race and societal position. However, the film depicts his rise in society doesn’t necessarily remove the negative stigmatism of being an African-American.

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