Based on a Washington Post story about a White House butler whose life spanned America's civil rights revolution, "The Butler" reminds audiences of that era through the eyes of Forest Whitaker - who rises from field hand to hotel work to a job in the White House. He serves the powerful with dignity, but struggles with disorder at home.
The butler serves while his son rebels, and that generation gap gives the story power. Oprah adds presence as a struggling wife, but some of the cameos of historic figures misfire - a minor detail in a movie that captures the big picture. The Butler is PG-13 and an award contender
Ashton Kutcher tries to express Steve Jobs' genius in "Jobs" and a script that never lets him - boiling down to a bunch of boardroom scenes and a lot of screaming about excellence in a movie that's only mediocre.
Best bets: Blue Jasmine, Fruitvale Station, and The Butler.