I cannot believe that Oprah was in London and I didn’t get the chance to be in the same room as her – the truth is if I had been given the chance to interview her, 15 minutes probably wouldn’t have been enough time. Then again if I was given free time I may not have made it to my Drive Show! But it will happen one day, I have every confidence.
So, during my week off I went to see The Butler – there was a Bafta screening where the cast were conducting a Q&A but time didn’t allow and it was also on at the exact same time as my Drive Show. This is a great film and I highly recommend it regardless of your race or culture. There is something quite special (if that is the correct word) with how Americans deal with racism. They aren’t afraid to speak it as it was, or as it is. I do believe that Oprah’s touch plays a huge part in how The Butler is viewed and received, having been in our homes and lives on and off over a 25 year period here in the UK, we have grown to trust her judgement on life’s issues and can connect with the way she delivers sensitive subjects, racism being one of them.
This film has an amazing and varied cast including amongst others Forest Whitaker, Terence Howard, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr, Robin Williams, Mariah Carey, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. In fine Lee Daniels’ style, it goes as deep and as painful as it does as high and as joyful; with success, overcoming and love being the key messages. Presidents and The Help staff, without whom the Presidents would not have succeeded in living balanced lives, sometimes have you cringing with pain when the display of how “unbalanced” the lives of the Help and specifically The Butler’s lives were. The scene requesting the pay rise left a lump in my throat – I wonder how many of us can connect with that feeling of working hard, working well, and producing results that end in no reward!
Based on the true story of Eugene Allen who served as a White House Butler for 34 years, he and his family experience riots, freedom riding, segregation and more. The Butler displays it all. There is obviously a special relationship both on screen and off between Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey who play husband and wife Cecil and Gloria Gaines, as they display here with Diane Sawyer.
I left the cinema with a renewed hope and vision. Not to settle for second best, not to watch what others are doing and wonder why I am not being treated as well as him or her, BUT to stand firm, put my best foot forward and believe just a little bit more in myself day by day.
I highly recommend this film, and this will definitely be one for my Blu-Ray collection as soon as it’s released.
On a book club note, if you’re looking for a Christmas present, this is my suggestion ……………..