Only the Important Parts
The Nine Most Glorious Oprah Winfrey Moments in 'The Butler' Trailer
Lee Daniels’s new film stars big A-listers as former presidents. But, more importantly, there’s Oprah.
The debut trailer for The Butler, Lee Daniels’s audacious attempt at a Forrest Gump-esque epic about a White House butler who served decades worth of presidents, features first glimpses of Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, John Cusack as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as JFK, and many more famous faces as historical luminaries. But none of that is important because—stop the presses—it premieres footage of Oprah Winfrey in her first film in 15 years.
Yes, Oprah Winfrey, patron saint of perfection and universe's life coach in charge of attaining its best self, is in a movie for the first time since Beloved, playing wife to Forest Whitaker’s butler and, more importantly, chewing scenery like it’s beef jerky and she just came off a juice cleanse. Is the trailer for The Butler stirring? Impressive? Indulgent? Horrifying? Perhaps all four. But that’s irrelevant, because here are the nine most glorious moments featuring St. Oprah in the trailer.
1. Look, it’s Oprah!
It’s an egregious 25 seconds before we see Oprah in this trailer. That first case of chills, however, shivers down your spine two seconds before, when before seeing her, we hear her voice. She appears to be gossiping with her family about all the dirty secrets they’ll learn thanks to her husband’s new job, even blessing us with a sassy eyeroll and she quips, “I don’t know what kind of stories you’re going to her ‘cuz they done swore him to secrecy.”
2. Look, she’s cackling!
The family is having so much fun in that first scene—is that Oprah holding a tumbler of whiskey!?—that Oprah-as-butler’s-wife can’t even contain herself. Look at her fall back cackling.
3. Look, she’s making out!
Brace yourself, because Oprah’s getting sexy. The lighting is soft. The music is twinkling and romantic. And there she is, locking lips with Forest Whitaker. Ladies and gentleman, it’s Oprah, in a love scene.
4. Look, she’s the star!
Inexplicably, the trailer’s editors forgo more Oprah footage for 90 seconds of silly things like setting up the plot and introducing key characters and nonsense. But don’t give up on this film yet, because when the title cards start flashing it is Queen O who gets second billing, done up like a poignant Jackie O as her name emblazons on the screen.
5. Look, she’s acting!
Broken. Beaten-down. Weathered harried. Acting. “You know what they gonna do? They gonna kill you,” she emotes. Oscar.
6. Look, she’s serene!
We all know that look. It’s the look she gives when the person she’s preaching to has his or her “a ha!” moment. Well, “a ha!” Oprah is going to be amazing in this film.
7. Look, she’s like, really, acting!
DID OPRAH JUST SLAP THAT MAN?!
8. Look, she’s making us cry.
This is, obviously, the scene that will have you weeping. First of all, it’s Oprah in old-age makeup, and the thought of Oprah getting old and facing mortality and death and not being Oprah for us is tragically terrifying. But second of all, this appears to be one of those Mr. Holland’s Opus-like scenes where everyone the main character has affected gathers to pay tribute and it’s dehydratingly moving.
9. Look, she’s explaining the whole meaning of the film.
Like the moral-of-the-story-line would be given to anyone else? “Everything you are, everything you have is because of that butler.” Tears.
The film opens Oct. 18. I’ll see you in line for tickets. I’m already there waiting.