Early in the ambitious but flawed civil rights drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” a black mentor teaching former cotton plantation “house negro” Cecil Gaines to work in a fancy Washington, D.C., hotel tells him that they each have two faces — their own and those that they show the white man.
The film also sports two faces: It’s the story of Gaines, who becomes a butler at the White House and serves through eight administrations; and it’s the tale of his rebellious son, Louis, who actively engages with (and against) the political structure instead of merely observing it, as does his father.
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‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’
Starring: Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey
Rating: PG-13, violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality, adult themes, smoking
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Theaters: Alamo Lakeline, Arbor, Cinemark Galleria, Cinemark Round Rock, Cinemark Southpark Meadows, Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center, City Lights, Domain, Flix Brewhouse, Highland, Lakeline Mall, Moviehouse & Eatery, Starplex, Tinseltown Austin, Tinseltown Pflugerville, Westgate.