I was reluctant to watch “Lee Daniels' The Butler” mostly for the wrong reasons. As Daniels attests in a recent interview with the Daily Beast, generations differ in their outlook as to what constitutes right action at a time of crisis (and believe me, we are in crisis…). Youth tends to favor more overt flourishes of bravado while age and experience tends to recognize the arc of subtle action after subtle action over time. To an extent I consider this film a rumination on the small steps that lead to change in observing the graceful steps of so many African American servants and domestic workers in our past. Living within the confines of Jim Crow segregation, Cecil Gaines (subtlety portrayed by Forest Witaker), modeled on the late Eugene Allen, works his way from a sharecropper to head butler of the White House. Along the way he’s a witness to violent racism, several wars, Civil Rights, and numerous presidential administrations between the 1950s and 1986 when he retires. Several criticisms can be launched at this film from oversentimentality to exploring too much content. However, as a dear friend said to me: this was about the life of a witness, not unlike the fictional Forrest Gump. Eugene Allen is worth reading about. He and his late wife Helene (portrayed with vulnerability as "Gloria" by Oprah Winfrey) really were witnesses to history and in the spirit of telling his story with respect and, dare I say, a youthful flourish, Daniels pulled all the stops in getting this film made. We should consider "Lee Daniels' The Butler" as a singular contribution to an ongoing and thriving genre of small stories about black people’s lives told on the big screen. I have my reservations about elements of this film, no doubt, but we are long past the point where every film about a black experience has to embody everybody’s experience, so let’s take it for what it’s worth—which according to the box office this opening weekend is some $25,000,000 (about the total budget for the film). I’m just saying.