Presidential Props: Obama Also Praises His 'Girl' Oprah Winfrey
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is making its mark as one of the classier offerings of the summer movie season. The historical drama has ranked number one at the box office for two consecutive weeks ... and has found quite a fan in the President of the United States himself.
President Obama recently expressed his admiration for the film that takes place in his own current home and admitted that it made him pretty emotional as it paints a powerful portrait of racial relations in working-class America.
"I did see 'The Butler,' and I did tear up," said the President during an interview with radio personalities Tom Joyner and Sybil 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."
The President also gave a shout-out to one of the film's stars and producers, Oprah Winfrey, affectionately referring to her as "my girl."
"Oprah, my girl, she can act," said the President. "She's just a wonderful actress."
The President didn't cry through the entire film, though. In fact, what he liked best about the movie was something decidedly more lighthearted — and somewhat risque.
"My favorite part was probably some of the jokes Cuba Gooding [Jr.] told," he said. "We can't repeat — but we can't repeat them on the air."
Obama also expressed his appreciation and affection for the butler staff currently working at the White House.
"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. We love them to death. They look after us just wonderfully."
"Lee Daniels' The Butler," which offers a unique perspective of American history as it follows White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) through his serving of eight presidents, opened in theaters on August 16 and has since earned over $53 million at the domestic box office.
[Related: Oprah and Cast Serve Up 'Butler' Scoop]
Watch 'The Butler' Insider Access: