Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Now show­ing at State Cinema

A SIM­PLE, sweet and crowd- pleas­ing drama in­spired by the life of Eu­gene Allen, who served as head but­ler at the White House for 34 years. He is rep­re­sented here by the char­ac­ter Ce­cil Gaines ( played by For­est Whi­taker), who be­comes a silent wit­ness to the best and worst decisions made by eight con­sec­u­tive US pres­i­dents. In other hands, Gaines might have wound up as For­rest Gump in a din­ner suit. How­ever, Whi­taker’s grace­ful re­straint keeps pro­ceed­ings on an even keel through­out. The cast of The But­ler is di­verse, to say the very least. Some of the pres­i­dents work ( Alan Rick­man as Ron­ald Rea­gan, Liev Schreiber as Lyn­don B. John­son). Some do not ( John Cu­sack as Richard Nixon, James Mars­den as JFK). Some of the most cred­i­ble and mov­ing act­ing comes from TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey as Gaines’ wife, a re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic. Not the most sub­tle of movies over­all, but does have some valid in­sights into the evo­lu­tion of mod­ern race re­la­tions in Amer­ica.

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