My Thinking Cap and The Butler

The Movie “The Butler”  & my Thinking Cap

I am destined for great things, opportunities and everyday offers adventures! Most recently there was an opportunity to pre-screen a movie before it was available for the ‘public’ ….well that just played right into my Diva-ness. A Movie Premier! Me! Ooohhh, I’m so excited!!. In my mind, I was going to walk the red carpet dressed in Hollywood Glam. There would be an awesome backdrop for me to have my picture taken, while smiling and doing the Ms. America wave.

Well, it didn’t quite look that way. It looked more like me getting out of my car at the King of Prussia theater, walking in with my co-worker, complaining at the price of popcorn and snacks, (no I didn’t by anything) and going in the theater marked “Special Event” for a seat.

OOOOhhh I am soooo excited to see this! THE BUTLER! I’ll try not to ruin it for you if you have not seen it as share my thoughts, rather my experience.

There’s no doubt about it, the cast was full of stars! Lee Daniels did a great job and the movie was well done.  The family in the movie were my aunts, uncles and cousins. Noooo…not really, just saying that the cast played their roles so well that I believed that they were a real family and I could identify people that I knew in my life when I saw them. The director did a great job moving time along to show time passing from Cecil Gaines’ childhood all the way through
his service of seven presidents (some them for two terms).

Here are some of the things that stood out to me. Before you judge, keep in mind that these are strictly my personal opinions and may be far from the directors’ intent (my disclaimer – and since I am not a movie critic I’ll use bullet points):

  • Cecil went against the grain as a child and questioned what was accepted when he asked his father if he was going to do something. The pride of the father not being seen as less
    than a man, had him speak out – knowing it could get him beaten/killed. This is
    ironic as his son (Charlie) had the same intentions – to question and make
    change – and it was the very thing that kept them apart for so many years.
  • Based on how she went out to the field when hearing the commotion, I think that the landowner who took Cecil in (I can’t recall her name) didn’t agree with her son’s behavior
    and was used to running out and smoothing things over. Some didn’t like her
    taking Cecil in but I saw it as her own redemptive act to make amends for her
    son’s action.
  • We have either said or heard “you all were raised the same
    way, why would you do THAT?”. I mention this because it is profound that three men, one family all served their country in 3 different ways. They all sought to make change in
    their own way regardless of the fact that the father would be the teacher of the moral values….etc to his son, they still had different views….made different choices but all had the same goal….. to make change. Cecil made his changes n a slow, deliberate and thoughtful manner but slowly…Charlie wanted to have big impactful changes that happened NOW.
  • Gloria…that’s a whole write-up in itself but I’ll note this for now. She wanted to go to the Whitehouse & I imagine he didn’t take her as he didn’t want to see him in a servant role; however, when she did go…he proudly took her as a guest. A great time for her but this is when he understood his son and his view changed.
  • It was nice to see the language change from House N***, Servant, Butler to Head Usher. Without spoiling it I’ll just say it would have been great to see diversity in the group of children accepting cookies from the tray at the end, showing how all of the fights, the years, the historical civil unrest, had at least allowed diversity in the school (one of Charlie’s complaints after his High School Graduation).
  • Finally, it reminded me that servant hood is not comfortable. It is definitely a place in your heart that makes you want to serve with pride and with your best effort. Thinking about Servant hood in the body of Christ – Christians are mocked, ridiculed, frustrated…etc….but we have to stay focused on WHO we serve.

There were many more things but this is top of mind. I am going to go back and see it again. As much as I enjoyed the movie, enjoyed the experience of attending a premier, I was very disappointed in the feedback from some people that I saw it with. Yes, we are all entitled to our views and opinions; however, the insensitivity is what bothered me as if it was a figment of Lee Daniels fantastic mind to create this entertaining movie and not history. It was interesting to me to hear people saying “that was hard” gasping about the things in the movie that are a part of me. My great-grandmother was born in 1800′s lived over 100 years – saw three centuries and worked washing dishes standing on a soap box. My father, uncles, cousins the men in my family – always ‘fit the description’ while my mother was a BIG afro wearing Panther sister. Me, I remember getting dressed for school as part of a new bussing program in Virginia listening to Nina Simone singing “Young Gifted and Black”.

So you see it’s not just history that happened waaaaayyyyy back then to some. This was not for your entertainment; this was for your education. While my personal view/description may seem like super extra-ness, a good way to describe how I felt was as though not everyone in the room deserved to know. They didn’t have the mental fortitude to share in my family photo album and have a glimpse of the strength, love and courage of my beautiful family…biological, extended or adopted.

These were my thoughts as I listened to their comments from Under my Brim.

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