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[[caption-width-right:350:HeyItsThatGuy!]]

''Lee Daniels' The Butler'' (previously known simply as ''The Butler'') is an historical film directed by [[Literature/{{Push}} Lee Daniels]]. It stars Creator/ForestWhitaker as Cecil Gaines (based on the RealLife figure [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Allen Eugene Allen]]), the head butler of the White House from 1952 to 1986, where he served under eight different Presidents, and bore witness to the changes in the political and racial landscape of the United States during his tenure.

The movie was released on August 16, 2013. The trailer can be seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAagFuR_XIM here]].

!! This movie provides examples of:

* AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder: Gloria, who winds up having an affair with her neighbor Howard before deciding to end it. It's also around then that Cecil tries to make the effort to spend more time with his wife.
* {{Adorkable}}: Charlie.
* AngryBlackMan[=/=]TheCynic: Louis becomes this after tiring of Martin Luther King's non-violent approach and joining Black Panther Party, which really encouraged a belligerent attitude that infuriated his parents. Eventually, he decides that the Panthers are going too far and decides to leave to fight the good fight with more reasonable means. These include getting elected into the US Congress and leading peaceful demonstrations to further social justice.
* ArmorPiercingSlap: Delivered by ''Oprah'', no less.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:Howard, at least as far as Gloria is concerned.]]
* BasedOnATrueStory
* BeenThereShapedHistory
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Cecil loses both his wife and one of his sons and ultimately resigns from his job after realizing how thankless it is, but he also reconnects with his other son and lives to see the first black President take office.]]
* TheCameo: A few historical ones, including Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon.
* TheDeepSouth: Where Cecil grew up and where other parts of the movie take place.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: After her (presumed) grandson [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rapes a field hand]] and [[MoralEventHorizon shoots her husband dead out of spite]], Annabeth Westfall's decision to make their young son a house servant is presented plausibly as an act of kind contrition. Also the common usage of the n-word, including by African American characters who don't know any better (which includes Cecil).
* FaceHeelTurn[=/=]UsedToBeASweetKid: Carol goes from an idealistic freedom rider to, as Oprah puts it, "a low class bitch".
* FacelessGoons: Some of the KKK thugs, though most of them actually avert this.
* FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling: Cecil's sons take turns being the two roles.
* ForegoneConclusion: Due to this being Historical Fiction the audience knows going in what will happen to everyone except the main characters.
* GrayAndGrayMorality[=/=]GoodVersusGood: The central conflict between Cecil and Louis. On one hand, Louis is crusading for civil rights, but in reckless ways that endanger his safety, at which point the film tends to take Cecil's side. However, by the same token, Cecil's stubborn and set-in-his-ways (if not also well-meaning) personality ultimately hurts his entire family.
* TheGump: Cecil Gaines ends up witnessing or even participating in most of the major events of the Civil Rights Movement: Eisenhower discussing sending the Army to enforce the desegregation of Little Rock High School; Robert F Kennedy discussing how to move forward with desegregation in general; Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act; the Freedom Riders (through Louis); the rise and militancy of the Black Panthers (also through Louis), and Nixon's fight against them; the international boycott and economic sanctions of apartheid South Africa; and finally, the election of Barack Obama.
* HappilyMarried: What Cecil and Gloria are for most of the movie. Gloria also pretty much lampshades this near the end of the movie.
* HeelRealization: Louis has one after spending too much time with the Black Panthers. Ronald Reagan has one in regards to whether or not he's on the right side of the Civil Rights struggle in South Africa.
* HeroesLoveDogs: A RunningGag with President Johnson is that he is almost never seen without his dogs.
* IHaveNoSon: An argument after Louis shows up for dinner for the first time in seven years leads to Cecil not speaking to him for about fifteen.
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in an odd way. The film was originally titled ''The Butler'' until Warner Bros. blocked The Weinstein Company at the MPAA title registration bureau based on the fact that they released a very successful short film under that title... ''[[ForTheEvulz in 1916]]''. The MPAA ended up allowing the film to keep the title as long as they put director Lee Daniels' name in front of it.
* InvisiblePresident: Mostly averted, but the presidencies of UsefulNotes/GeraldFord and UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter are rather glanced over via a news montage, presumably because their tenures weren't as important to the Civil Rights Movement. Richard Nixon comes close, getting only a very brief cameo.
* {{Jerkass}}: Howard. Louis and Carol eventually become this, though the former grows out of it.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: President Johnson is portrayed as incredibly crass but also passes the Voting Rights Act.
* JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: Howard.
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Charlie is one of the nicest and most endearing characters in the movie, but is ultimately killed in Vietnam.]]
* KilledOffForReal[=/=]DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Cecil's Father, Charlie, and Howard.]]
* LightIsNotGood: The KKK, though having said that, not all of them wear the trademark white uniform here.
* MoodWhiplash: Don't get too comfortable whenever jokes are making you laugh. Something tragic is coming right after.
* OscarBait
* ParentalAbandonment: Poor Cecil
* PetTheDog: UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan gets one when accepting Cecil's resignation along with [[spoiler:listening to Cecil's complaints of the pay gap and being willing to force Cecil's boss to give the same privileges.]] His wife gets one earlier when she invites Cecil and Gloria to dine with them as guests rather than as a butler and his wife.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Suffered by Cecil's mother.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Cecil gives one to Louis during the dinner scene, mixed with TranquilFury.
* RedOniBlueOni: Louis and Cecil respectively.
* ScaryBlackMan: The Black Panther party are a whole group of these.
* TheSociopath: Thomas Westfall.
* SoundtrackDissonance: When [[spoiler:the soldiers come to tell Cecil and Gloria their son Charles has been KIA]], their reaction is accompanied jarringly by disco music (they were watching ''SoulTrain''). Which only makes it that much worse.
* TheStoic: Frequently Cecil, in contrast to his son [[AngryBlackMan Louis]].
* TokenRomance: Louis and Carol. [[spoiler:It doesn't last, and Louis even winds up doubting if Carol ever loved him at all.]]
* TooDumbToLive: Louis from Cecil's perspective. [[spoiler:Also Charlie, who goes to Vietnam seemingly on a whim...and gets killed.]]
* TranquilFury: Cecil to Louis at the fateful dinner scene, before becoming [[IHaveNoSon not so tranquil]].
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: How loosely? The [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed only member]] of the butler's family whose name is not changed is Charles. Film!Charles goes to Vietnam and is KIA. Real!Charles went to Vietnam and watched a private showing of this film.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: The Black Panthers. Also the teacher who first gets Louis and Carol into the Freedom Riders, putting them through TrainingFromHell to prepare them for what they will face, and being completely unsympathetic to potential recruits who are afraid of being killed.
* WhatTheHellHero: Cecil and Louis both suffer from this from a couple different people, including (and most prominently) each other.
* WouldHitAGirl[=/=]WouldHurtAChild: The KKK and other racists show no compunctions about going after women and minors with nothing short of total sadism.
* [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre Your Father Is Better Than You Think He Is]]: Essentially, what MartinLutherKingJr tells Louis is that his father, as a domestic servant, is contributing to the advancement of racial justice and equality in his own way.
* YouKilledMyFather: Averted. Cecil never gets an ounce of closure for his parents being cruelly taken from him.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: Louis may be trying to get equality for African Americans, but his father views him as being irredeemably stupid and irresponsible.

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