Deirdre Childress Hopkins explores the world, entertainment and sports

Archive for August, 2013

“The Butler” serves Civil Rights

It’s a very rare film that serves an all-star cast well.
I can think of lots of recent flops like “New Year’s Eve.”

“The Butler” is an exception, it serves pretty much every one of its stars well. And that cast includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah, David Oyelowo, Lenny Kravitz and John Cusack. Who could have imagined Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, other than Philly’s own Lee Daniels? Yet I am sure she could because Hollywood was her backyard growing up.

Filmmaker Daniels, Cuba Gooding Jr and Yaya Alafia attended the special screening of the film at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theatre, newly fortified with a brand new digital screen, four times brighter and sharper than HD.

The film’s mostly chronological unfolding focuses on the U.S. Civil Rights movement – taking the viewer to the heights of good times, family and friends to the low lights – racism, family strife and infidelity.

There are ugly scenes like spitting on black patrons sitting in at the lunch counters of the South. This is not an escapist film.

But what you cannot escape is the depth of the performances given by Whitaker, Oprah, Gooding and the rest. Even my girl Mariah Carey pops up in here.

Just be sure to make it a must-see when it opens in the U.S. this Friday Aug. 16. @Oprah and cast talk “The Butler”–

As I left, the buzz was Best Picture.