The Help (2011)

the help

Released: August 10, 2011Director: Tate TaylorStars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia SpencerRuntime: 146 minDid you know? Director Tate Taylor and the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett, were childhood friends in Jackson, Mississippi.

Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

While the concept of racism may shine too vibrantly and be a little too preachy, its ensemble carries it well. From Viola Davis to Emma Stone, to Bryce Dallas Howard as the wicked bitch of Mississippi, Hilly Holbrook; the performances are stellar. Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are both stunning. They mend one of the greatest relationships in the feature. As do Stone’s Miss Skeeter and Davis’ Aibileen Clark. The voice-over narration that Davis offers is often great, and it adds a further meaning to the picture. Her [Clark’s] relationsiop with the children she has taken care of over the years is charming, precious, and sometimes heartbreaking. It is not necessarily surprising to see how the white people treated the black people in these times, so it is accurate. When Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain) opens up to Minny (Octavia Spencer) and eats with her, it really displays how skeptical these two races are towards each other – and it makes this period piece have a more touching and compelling impact. Also, one could feel for Miss Skeeter when many of her friends turn their backs on her. It’s equally heartbreaking for the character, and the audience member – at least, if they’re emotionally invested in her. It really is hard not to be emotionally invested in these characters, as the performances given are just so fine. This is a faithful adaptation to the Kathryn Stockett novel of the same name. It’s poignant, surprisingly funny and charming, and brilliantly written and filmed. It is one of the best films of 2011.


13 thoughts on “The Help (2011)

  1. Good review Dan. The cast is great, no doubt about that, but the story does go on a tad bit long. It got to a point of where I felt like I was watching the Lord of the Rings version of African-American slaves in the South. It kept going on and on and on.

    1. LOL, funny assessment. I can understand how the length might have been exhausting to some. It’s a flaw for most, for sure. Personally, I think it’s just right the way it is. I don’t remember if I wrote this review before or after I read the book, but it’s an amazing adaptation of a stellar book (and Stockett pitched it 60 times before it was published!). So Dan, just be pleased they didn’t make it even more like LOTR and made it three hours in length, because they really could have. Lol 🙂 and thanks for the compliment!

  2. I loved The Help. Although I think it had a somewhat more intense emotional effect on me as I grew up in South Africa, where most of my friends had housekeepers and childminders similar to that potrayed in the film. It somehow seemed a lot more personal and real.

    1. Hmm, that sounds like a very cool perspective to view it from… I could understand how it would be more personal and real since you can relate to the material. Thanks for the interesting comment 🙂

      1. Whoops, sorry, never saw this… Good! Drive and Harry Potter 8 🙂 Though, this might actually be my fourth, because I’d have to revisit The Descendants to see if I like this or that better…

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