I honestly expected The Butler to be extremely dull, but it was just the opposite. I went to see it only because I didn't want the popular guts and gore films that are out now, and another website had the movie highly rated at 8.2 (I'm shocked it's at a 6-point-something here on IMDb!)
I'm not one to go for political movies, but this was so different, and really, it focused on the impact of socio-political events on the butler's family. It was very serious, with some light moments, but not so much that you couldn't enjoy it. The star-studded cast was amazing, and Oprah Winfrey was incredible (though I found it distracting that she didn't age one bit throughout the decades, until the last couple of scenes).
Not only was the story interesting throughout the movie (only slowing a tad bit toward the end), but it really does drive home just what African Americans went through during forties through the seventies. As a white person having grown up just after the worst of the civil rights events, in the north (where for, my family, those events were nothing more than scenes on a television even as they happened) such things seemed so far in the past for me. I mean, that was YEARS before I was born, right? It's in the past, right? (Ugh.)
Such atrocities are no more in the past than a rape is in the past for a rape victim. And it highlights even more that, although we have made great strides as a country, our growth is not yet over. Vestiges of bigotry still linger in stereotypes that we still believe in.
I hope someone at CBS will show this movie to ALL the houseguests for this 2013 season of the Big Brother show, during which almost all the cast members either spewed the vilest of racial slurs and taunts (in mob-mentality fashion), or laughed at such jokes, or sat and did nothing, just so they could stay safe. (Wow, history really does repeat itself!)
I was truly surprised at the impact this movie had on me. But even beyond all that, the film overall had excellent acting, excellent writing and directing, and was all done on a small budget (relatively speaking). And I'm soooo glad I saw it on the big screen. I think the more dramatic "action" scenes have far bigger impact on the silver screen.
So, to sum up: see this movie. Tell your friends to see this movie. EVERYONE needs to see this movie. Trust me