“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” has swept the box office for two weekends in a row, earning $US53 million at theatres.
The film has caught the attention of many, including the Commander-in-Chief who counts himself among audience members most impressed by the Weinstein Company’s historical drama.
“I did tear up,” President Obama told the Tom Joyner Morning Show during an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The film is inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served during eight presidential administrations. The film stars Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Alan Rickman, and Jane Fonda.
Obama said his favourite parts were Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s jokes — which he “can’t repeat on the air” — and performances by the movie’s stars.
“All of the acting was terrific, and I thought Forrest Whitaker was wonderful,” Obama said. “And Oprah, my girl, she can act.”
Winfrey received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for “The Colour Purple” in 1985.
When asked about getting teary-eyed, Obama said:
“I teared up just thinking about not just the butlers who have worked here in the White House, but an entire generation of people who were talented and skilled, but because of Jim Crow, because of discrimination, there was only so far they could go. And yet, with dignity and tenacity, they got up and worked every single day, and put up with a whole lot of mess because they hoped for something better for their kids.”
The President acknowledged the current butlers, who eased the First Family’s transition into the White House:
“I will tell you that the butlers who are now here in the White House, when we first arrived, when Michelle and the girls just — first arrived, they could not have been kinder to us and warmer to us. And part of it, I suspect, is they look at Malia and Sasha and they say, well, this looks like my grandbaby, or this looks like my daughter. And I think for them to have a sense that we’ve come that far was a powerful moment for them, and certainly a powerful moment for us. We love them to death. They look after us just wonderfully.”
No word if the President saw “We’re The Millers.”
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