"Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
"The Butler" is a story about a black man named Cecil Gaines. The new film goes through his life, his work, his family.
Starring Forest Whitaker in the title role, "The Butler" begins when Gaines is a young boy working on a cotton plantation with his mother and father in 1926 Macon, Ga. Due to a confrontation between his father and one of the masters, Cecil was taken out of the fields and into the house to be trained as a butler.
Thus began this man's long career working in various places and positions.
Not long after he was a butler in the house, Gaines decided to leave before there was a similar confrontation between him and the master. He found work in a hotel and there he met his wife Gloria, played by Oprah Winfrey. Gloria and Cecil had two boys, Louis and Charlie.
In 1957, Cecil got a job serving as a butler in the White House. During this time, the civil rights movement was going on and his son Louis (David Oyelowo) was right in the middle of it. For years father and son did not get along and hardly spoke to each other. While Cecil was working by the side of presidents, serving them, Louis was out protesting and getting beat up and thrown in jail.
Louis took part in the sit-ins, and was one of the Freedom Riders. His father -- working in the White House -- never approved of what his son was doing.
Cecil, whose character is based on a real person, saw and heard many things during his time as a butler. He worked through the administrations of eight American presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. All the while, Gaines the butler is standing quietly in the background as he watches the presidents make decisions concerning his people.
This PG-13 movie was an absolutely incredible show, inspired by a true story and dedicated to all the brave men and women who fought for their civil rights in our country. It is an inspiring story and a great reminder of exactly what happened back then, and why we should remember and honor the history and those people who gave their lives to be free.
Brynn Whaley is a junior at Syracuse High School. Email her at email@example.com.