An excellent performance by Forest Whitaker. It's been a while, and to be honest I started to think that maybe Forest was fine with starring in exclusively straight-to-video trash. He's always done that in-between great roles, but lately it became a bit too common. The Butler is a timely reminder of his talent and skill as he plays his heart out of this character.
Unfortunately, the character is rather bland. Apart from a very impressive physical transformation there is not much going on with the man. He is not the star of his own movie, far from it. He watches, he listens but rarely expresses an opinion. He is most animated when arguing with his son, but when it comes to his work in the White House, he spends most of his screen time there being silent and polite.
But man, what a great work displaying his aging. He never gets too fragile, but you just see how years pile up on him. And with them comes experience and wisdom, and he starts to see the world differently. Forest is excellent throughout the whole movie, but he really shines in his final few scenes. Not the most interesting character in the world perhaps, but he gives a pretty special performance regardless.
Grade change: 56--->61. A leading role in a sizable hit.
Review: The Butler (2013)
Forest Whitaker grade sheet
Image: The Weinstein Company