Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Based on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Screenplay by Tate Taylor.
Released: August 2011
Featuring: Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard
The first thing that attracted me to this DVD was, quite shallowly, the dresses that the characters were wearing on the cover. This was a story based in the sixties. Also, it has Emma Stone in it.
So I decided to [wait until the price came down and] buy it.
In the back of my mind I was expecting it to be either over-emotional and depressing such as the film Precious (which I still haven’t brought myself to watch). Or, I was expecting it to be a little too cheesy… But I was gladly wrong.
This is a story about a strong-willed and moral young woman named Skeeter (Stone) who interviewed African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi despite it being very dangerous and very much against the law. With many struggles and an immense amount of courage from all involved, she wrote a book anonymously based upon the accounts of the Help who serve white families for little money and humiliating conditions.
Although I am not overly well-versed in American Civil Rights history, it is not hard to feel sympathetic and emotionally moved by the stories of the Help, or pity and feel incredible remorse for the way that many of the white population viewed African-American people.
But above all, Skeeter (Stone) was the most inspirational character. Maybe because she is about my age. But I also find her an inspirational character because she refuses to fit into society.
She doesn’t just want to get married, live in a house in the suburbs, paying a maid to raise her children. Instead, she wanted to change the world around her for the better. Skeeter graduated as a journalist and bravely took on a huge project for the greater good, giving the ignored maids a voice.
I am reluctant to give too much credit to the author that this film was based on, Kathryn Stockett, because I’m not incredibly sure that she was completely honest and pure in her intentions (my theory based upon a few interviews I have seen her in).
There was a lawsuit filed against her by Aibileen, the author’s brother’s maid, saying that Stockett had stolen her life story without her knowledge. Although Stockett was found innocent, it did take the honour out of the story a bit.
The novel is in fact fiction, with bits and pieces drawn from Stockett’s life experiences as a white child growing up in the South with a family maid. But, it is essentially a story that is worth being told to remind us of how it was, with themes of friendship, adversity, desperation and success.
This film is a people film. It follows characters who have flaws and struggles, triumphs and strength. It follows the lives of various people and from their points of view which reminds me of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Big Fish and other stories that accurately follow the path of interesting, yet believable, people.
Triumphant and inspirational.
…Also, their accents and way of talking is so awesome. I’ve watched this movie so many times, my thoughts are now in a Southern accent.
Jodie’s rating: 8/10
Can’t say that the movie is quite as upbeat as this trailer makes it out to be, but it gives you chills nevertheless.