Speaking of the box office, the film came in at number one and is getting rave reviews from critics and black and white movie-goers alike. But of course there are some who aren’t feeling it and one of them would be Princeton University Professor Eddie Glaude Jr.
To say he’s not a fan of the film would be an understatement. Professor Glaude to his Facebook page to share his thoughts. While he gave the movie credit for presenting strong performances, he couldn’t help but criticize it for presenting a one-sided political perspective that will help Lee Daniels in getting his next film funded.
Here’s what the professor said:
“Just saw ‘The Butler.’ I found the movie entertaining. I also think Forest Whitaker has delivered an Oscar-winning performance. But the politics of the film are terribly problematic. It relies on a narrative of decline: civil rights movement good, black power bad. In fact, the father and son cannot reconcile until the son trades in his black radical imagination for electoral politics (as if there is no relation between the two: remember the Gary Convention in 1972?). The movie ends with a credit to the warriors of the civil rights movement. This was prefaced by the straight line drawn from that movement to Obama. This is nothing but a cinematic version of a black liberal consensus narrative. And it annoyed the h**l out of me.
“The representation of black women in the film is really troubling. The one black female character who dares NOT to define herself in terms of her attachment to a man or children gets read as deviant (with her ‘Angela Davis’ afro). The scene in which Oprah’s character slaps her son in defense of her husband is prefaced by a dinner in which this character belches at the table (a crude representation of the irreverence of black power over against the respectability of the Butler). Before the father throws the son out of the house he refers to her belching. And Oprah, after the s**p, decries her as a rude harlot. Of course, ironically she stands in for a certain kind of black radicalism that threatens and is immediately cast to the margins (I say ironically given the hypermasculine character of much of black power politics).”
Now that you know what the professor said – and if you’ve seen the film – we’d love to hear what you have to say, so scroll down and have at it!