President Barack Obama Reviews The Butler: "Oprah, My Girl, She Can Act"

Celebrity News Aug. 27, 2013 AT 8:20PM
President Obama and Oprah Winfrey In an interview with Tom Joyner, President Barack Obama says he teared up watching Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker in The Butler Credit: Pete Souza/The White House/AP Photo

Oprah Winfrey's performance in The Butler has gotten the Presidential stamp of approval. Speaking with radio vet Tom Joyner and co-host Sybil Wilkes on Tuesday, Aug. 27, President Barack Obama offered up his thoughts on Winfrey's new movie, which centers around Forest Whitaker's Cecil Gaines, a former plantation laborer who gets a job as a butler in the White House in 1957. (The movie was loosely inspired by real-life White House butler Eugene Allen.)

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"You know, I did see The Butler, and I did tear up," Obama told Joyner and Wilkes. "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."

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The commander-in-chief went on to say that his favorite parts of the film were Cuba Gooding Jr.'s jokes, which he couldn't repeat on air. But Winfrey and Whitaker were definite highlights, too.

"All of the acting was terrific, and I thought Forest Whitaker was wonderful. And Oprah, my girl, she can act," President Obama raved of the media mogul. "She's just a wonderful actress."

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He noted, too, that the movie hit close to home for him -- and not just geographically. "I'm glad they did [the film]. And I will tell you that the butlers who are now here in the White House, when we first arrived, when Michelle and the girls first arrived, they could not have been kinder to us and warmer to us," he said. "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," he continued. "We love them to death. They look after us just wonderfully."

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