Published on August 19th, 2013 |1
‘The Butler’ Filled with Historical Inaccuracies, Finishes #1
Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which is slated to finish number one at the box office, grossing some $25 million over the weekend, is expected to finish behind other recent films about America’s racial past, including 42 and The Help.
There is no question that the film itself is full of historical inaccuracies. The Butler has virtually nothing in common with its source material, the life of White House butler Gene Allen, except for the fact that the main character of the film and Allen were both black butlers in the White House. The film’s title character, Cecil Gaines, sees his father murdered and his mother raped by a white landowner; that never happened to Allen. The movie’s title character has two children, one who goes to the Vietnam War, the other who becomes a Civil Rights pioneer; Allen actually had only one son. Allen’s wife was by all accounts lovely; Gaines’ wife, played by Oprah, is an alcoholic who has an affair. Allen had warm relations with all the presidents with whom he served, and left the White House in 1980 with a hug from Ronald Reagan; Cecil Gaines, leaves the White House in rage over Reagan’s stance on South African apartheid. The film depicts Eisenhower as a colorless milquetoast, largely ignores southern Democrats’ support for Jim Crow during the 1960s and paints Reagan as slightly senile.