Lee Daniels' The Butler serves up decades-long look at race
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lee Daniels' The Butler began as a story about a father and son set against the backdrop of the United States (US) civil rights movement, but the film grew into a sweeping historical drama about love, family and racial equality.
Inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, an African-American White House butler who served eight US presidents, the film chronicles the changing political landscape and race relations from a deeply divided South in the 1920s, through the battles for desegregation, to the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president.
"It was a homage to my son and me and my father and then it took on its own life because I started realising there is now other stuff," Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of the 2009 drama Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire, said in an interview before the film's opening in US theatres on Friday.
While Precious zeroed in on the world of an overweight black teenage girl, The Butler offers a broad view on race through different characters' viewpoints.