Reeling…and Inspired

The Butler

It’s 2:30am and I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Paso Robles, California drinking an Honest Tea while listening to “The Devil’s Tears” by Angus and Julia Stone. The front desk staff are watching ESPN highlights and even with my earphones I can hear them talking about some great kickoff return that’s been replayed incessantly. Guests are slumbering in from the evening festivities.

And I’m still reeling from the effects of watching the movie “The Butler.”

Generally it’s received favorable reviews (side note: Forrest Whitaker was brilliant). But it’s got a fair share of critique–like anything that’s published or otherwise–from the acting itself to the fictionalization of the loosely-based true story, to the accuracy of the portrayals of each Presidents perspective (particularly that of Reagan).

But I can only give The Butler a resounding review, and especially for one specific reason. It caused me to reflect, deeply and at various times during and after the movie quite emotionally, on both the tragic history of our nation that so violently and abhorrently divided on race (yes, there still remains too much a chasm but clearly not what it was), and also the heroic contributions of those that brought about the civil rights movement in the 60’s and beyond.

Likely, I would be a terrible movie reviewer. Because even if there were any basis for fault or critique, with a movie like The Butler it’s an amazing means to an end. And upon that I can overlook dozens of faults. There’s little about The Butler that I can criticize or even objectively review, because it serves such an important purpose of reflection. And hopefully something more profound and enduring than that.

On the rare occasion that I watch a movie I want to be so enveloped in what’s on the screen that I forget about life for two hours. And, even better, is if it’s so powerful that it engages me think about life differently after it’s over.

And The Butler does both.


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