Director: Lee Daniels. Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard, James Marsden, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Clarence Williams III, Mariah Carey, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave. 132 min. Rated PG-13. Biography/Drama.
Somewhat glad I broke my vow to stay away from Lee Daniels: it's my first experience with him not playing the "angry black man". The true-life story of a White House butler who served several presidents through 30 years of contemporary American history, told (occasionally literally) in parallel with the story of his rebellious son, is a toned-down civil rights tale that offers a subtle message of non-violence triumphing in the end. But boy ... that casting director should be exiled! Williams as Eisenhower, Marsden as Kennedy, Schreiber as Johnson, and Cusack as Nixon were horrible. Only Rickman as Reagan works.
PS: It's good that Oprah left her talk show. She's a decent actress.