Happy Monday darlings!
Screenie had the loveliest weekend. I stumbled across the most amazing vintage shop (story to follow!) and picked up two stunning dresses, strolled around in the lovely weather partaking in ice cream, and visited a llama farm (darlings ya had to be there!). But perhaps the highlight of my weekend was catching Lee Daniels’ latest film The Butler. Loves, believe me when I tell you it was the best film I’ve seen in quite some time. The acting was phenomenal, the story was both inspirational and heartbreaking and I left the theatre completely exhausted having experienced all of the joys and pains over the life of Cecil Gaines (played by a completely transformed Forest Whitaker).
Now I know Screenie usually focuses on the fun and fluff that fashion adds to a movie, but sometimes fashion can be quite serious and can make or break the historical accuracy of a film. From Jackie Kennedy’s blood-stained pink suit, to the matching disco jumpsuits that Cecil and his wife Gloria (Oprah) wear in a pivotal scene in the film, fashion works to inform us, foreshadow events, and reveal pieces in a film as a silent character. Fashion draws us into this world, tells us where we are, and doesn’t let us leave until it wants us to. The power of wardrobe was certainly expressed in this film.
There’s been a lot of talk about Oprah’s role in the film. Darlings, she was sensational. Being able to play a woman convincingly from her mid 30s through her 80s is difficult enough, but she handled her character so wonderfully and imbued her with so much dignity, even when she hit rock bottom. That to me is the sign of a wonderful actor. I love that we see her transformation reflected through her wardrobe- the external reflection of her feelings. So let’s take a look at some of Gloria Gaines key outfits now shall we?
Gloria dons this orange ensemble for a party with the Gaines’ neighbors after Cecil is hired by The White House. Gloria is thrilled by her husband’s posh new job and her outfit reflects that. From her persimmon nails and lipstick to that perfect 60s shift, we can see that Gloria is truly happy with where her life is in that wonderful moment.
But as the years progress and Gloria’s life becomes more difficult, her look becomes more disheveled.
The busy, erratic pattern of Gloria’s half unbuttoned dress and worn off red lipstick reflect the state of her life with Cecil. Without giving things away to you loves, things aren’t so easy for Gloria at this point.
And finally we see an external reflection of Gloria’s pride for her dear husband.
Cecil and Gloria are invited to Reagan’s state dinner and Gloria’s elaborate beaded gown not only signals the glamour of the 80s but shows how thrilled she is to be at the event. It’s a second wedding of sorts signaling a new life for the couple and imbuing Cecil with the strength to make some changes in his life.
Darlings, Oprah is absolutely mesmerizing as Gloria Gaines and this is surely a movie to see. The film is both uplifting and heartbreaking, and I promise you loves you’ll leave the film feeling both outraged and inspired. And I think that’s exactly the way Lee Daniels wanted us to feel.
Screen Siren xx