Butter (Jim Field Smith, 2011): USA

Reviewed by Yuichi K. Viewd at Chinese 6 on AFI Fest 2011, Hollywood

Butter Poster

According to US Census 2010, the Hispanic population is now glowing, and it will get rid of the white population in 2023. This must be a very historical event in the United States. Jim Field Smith’s film “Butter” indicates this changing America well.

Bob Pickler(Ty Burrell) is the number one for the butter sculpture. Every year, he exhibits his works for Iowa state fair, and receives favorable reviews from the visitors. One day, Bob was told, “Next, you should be a judge.” His wife, Laura(Jennifer Garner) can’t be satisfied for the situation. At last, Laura make a decision to be a candidate for the contest. Destiny, a ‘smart’ black girl(Yara Shahidi), is very talented and artistic. She is longing for the butter sculpture. By sheer chance, Destiny, Laura, Carol who is a childhood friend of Laura, and Brook who is a hooker, join the butter sculpture contest in the town.

This film “Butter” has all white, black, and Asian performers. Iowa is known as a white conservative state. Destiny cuts in the traditional atmosphere as a new face. As the same as butter is sensitive for temperature, people who surround her are also very sensitive for their situations. Therefore, Laura who wants to restraint Destiny, and Destiny who wants to be familiar and win the contest, are just right as a metaphor of the United States. Audiences, surely, experience the conflicts between the races with the comical descriptions and impatient schemes.

The director is Jim Field Smith, who has unique experiences as a member of the popular British sketch group ‘The Dutch Elm Conservatoire.” This story was written by Jason A. Micallef, who works for “Good Vibration.” with Charlize Theron. Ty Burrell, acted for Bob, is known as Phil in ABC’s “Modern Family”. Yara Shahidi is also active in episodes of TV series, and feature films. Jennifer Garner, acted for Laura, is known with TV series “Alias” and feature film “Catch Me If You Can.”

At a glance, “Butter” is a typical feature film. However, the topics behind the story also indicate one big change from the past to the future. Naturally, the scale of the story is not so big, but the essence that concentrated into this small episode must be an expectation of the future figure of the United States.

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