Forest Whitaker

REVIEW: ‘The Butler’ Serves Up a Tepid Take on a Hot Topic

Lee Daniels’ film about the civil rights movement as seen through the eyes of a White House butler was in trouble well before it opened. The filmmakers, which include thirty-nine various forms of producer, ran afoul of Warner Brothers in a spat over the title. Arcane and somewhat illegal MPAA bylaws (titles cannot legally be copyrighted) state that MPAA signatories — i.e. studios — cannot use the exact same title. Warners owns the rights to an obscure silent film of the same name and gave distributor Harvey Weinstein a hard time,