“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.” This is a quote said by Martin Luther King Jr. and was presented on the screen as the opening scene of the movie “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”
I went into the theater with high expectations after hearing from my boss that it was a moving experience for her to sit and watch everything that African Americans had to suffer through back when they didn’t share equal rights with Caucasians. Not only was she right, but also the movie exceeded my expectations and went above and beyond what I thought it was even capable of.
If I could force every student on campus to go see this movie, I would. The movie was more of an eye opener to me about the past than any history class has ever been. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I had no idea that the fight for civil rights was so intense. I feel as though half of the students walking on campus would be just as shocked as I was to see the treatment African Americans had to endure throughout the 1900s.
My emotions through the entire movie were out of my control. At one point I actually had to stop eating my popcorn because I was so sickened by the treatment of the slaves by their owners. There were numerous times when I went from tears to giggles, but for the most part, the movie was quite serious.
I thought the acting in the movie was done impeccably. It was difficult at first for me to get used to the different actors in some of the roles, such as John Cusack in his role as Richard Nixon. However, it was easy to adjust to the cast as the movie went on.
Forest Whitaker, the actor who plays the main character, Cecil Gaines, did an immaculate representation of a man who receives the honor of serving eight United States presidents from the Eisenhower administration to the Reagan administration. He grew up in the cotton fields, working for a rich, white family where they taught him to be a house servant and eventually ran away to create a better life. He was successful.
I could tell the crowd at the theater was just as impressed with the movie as I was. The scenes were accompanied with the perfect sound effects by the audience. When there should’ve been silence, you could hear a pin drop. Gasps at slaps and sniffles at tear-jerking scenes were all right on cue. Though, the best reaction of the crowd was the end, when the entire theater stood and clapped when the credits started to roll.
I wouldn’t advise this to be a movie to go to with a group of friends when you want to have a fun, girls’ night out, or if you’re babysitting for the night and need a good activity to get the kids tired. But, it is inspirational and extremely educational. It taught me so much about the past and opened my eyes to what it would’ve been like to go to school here not even 50 years ago.
I would recommend this movie to all age groups. Everyone should understand how lucky we are to live in a place where we can be treated with equal rights and independence.