(I don't mean to read this book. This is just a place to write my review of the movie.)
Other than his White House tenure, this movie had little in com...more(I don't mean to read this book. This is just a place to write my review of the movie.)
Other than his White House tenure, this movie had little in common with Eugene Allen's personal journey. For all I know, he could be an Uncle Tom (meaning no disrespect, the movie did NOT aim to be autobiographical of Mr. Allen).
Instead, the movie was a novel by Lee Daniels using a black butler's White House credentials (serving 8 US presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan) as a canvas for his creative writing on the subject of race in America. He also borrowed Mr. Allen's origin in the south for his novel. But the parallels between Cecil Gaines (movie portrait) and Mr. Allen (real life butler) stop there. I think Lee Daniels was wise to rename his fictionalized character.
The following is my review of the movie:
This story spans 82 years (1926 - 2008) following the life of a slave / sharecropper's son from Georgia's cotton field, where he was borne of a negro father and a Mulatto mother. Here I have this question: weren't slavery abolished?
Most Civil Rights movies are either too hot or too cold. It's either a cold litany of facts, or a hot blinding passion. But this movie did something that was never done (to me) before: to make me see racism through the eyes of a negro. By having an imprinted boy (he was imprinted b/c he was orphaned way too young & had to survive in this white-dominated world in the south) who quietly accepts his fate: to anticipate, to know what they need before they know they need it, to play by all the rules, to know his place, and later to move up in life -- keeping his head down even then. One scene when he drank from a "COLOR" fountain, while arguing with his son against doing sit-ins (asserting equality in restaurants) -- just took my breath away. Seeing a gentle person accept such indiginity as if he didn't see it, just took my breath away.
He must be thinking, I came so far, I taught myself to read, I worked hard to earn this living, to secure this nest and to have a family to call my own. He must have felt grateful for his fortune -- to have gone far, far away from the savagery of the cotton field. He must have been thinking that he'd love to make this peace last as long as he could in his power -- if only the little 'un would overlook some of these small, trivial discomforts.
I see it, I see the world through his eyes. I see how he would be blind to it all.
Until the discord with his son wore on year after year and he realized he lost the object that his blindness was used to protect, that is.
Author is a Nobel Laureate in lit (fiction). This 'affecting if often clumsy novel' will be light reading I guess.
A love story of the "Green Card (mov...moreAuthor is a Nobel Laureate in lit (fiction). This 'affecting if often clumsy novel' will be light reading I guess.
A love story of the "Green Card (movie)" variety that took place in South Africa, and then in an unnamed middle eastern country. (I didn't tag this book in loc-middle-east b/c mideast was just some place she imagined, she never left SA). It is supposed to illuminate the race-class-immigration issues that is inescapable in SA. I look forward to 'the ways in which they invent each other in their own minds' (less)