The Help

the Help film posterDirector: Tate Taylor
Writer: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Released: August 2011
Starring: 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.

The-Help-MovieIn 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 (Emma 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 incredible remorse for the way that many of the white population viewed African-American people.

Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) plays the ‘villain’. It’s easier to pity her more than despise her, and she is still accessible enough to guess why she acts the way she does.

bryce-dallas-howard-as-hilly-holbrook-in

 

Skeeter was the most inspirational character of course. Maybe because she is about my age. But I also find her an inspirational character because she refuses to fit into society.

Skeeter

She doesn’t just want to get married, live in a house in the suburbs or pay 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.

Minny and Celia

Minny (right) and her new employer, Celia (Jessica Chastain) is a happy go-lucky woman who is impossible to dislike. She is excluded from the white community, probably because of her acceptance of everybody – no matter the colour – and finds friendship in her new maid, Minny Jackson.

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 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.

You is kind.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.

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About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working as a writer in UK. Follow me on Twitter @NZFilmFreak and like my Facebook page NZ Film Freak. Follow my travels around the world www.jodiehart.co.nz
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6 Responses to The Help

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