American drama from 2011.
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Kathryn Stockett, Tate Taylor
Bechdel test: Pass
Skeeter Phelan returns from college to Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s. She wants to be a writer and decides to tell the stories of the maids of her affluent family and peers.
“The help” shows many sides of the 60’s, some bad and some more neutral; segregation, Kennedy’s funeral, the amazing dresses, old fashioned women’s norms and smoking everywhere. In spite of all the negative, “The help” feels less heavy then it sounds. The lives of white and black woman are contrasted, but the focus of the story is such that I felt hope the whole time. And a few well placed jokes always helps.
The story shows to separate sides of society; rich white women on the one side and their maids on the other. The story of the privileged is told from the side of Skeeter who tries to write a story about the maids in her surroundings. We follow her as she tries to find the way in her life and she slowly begins to see the full consequences of segregation and unfeeling white people.
The story of the black maids is shown through the stories of Aibileen and Minny. They both try to find a way to conduct their everyday lives in the midst of increasing racial tension during the civil rights movement, and to find a way to have a job with dignity despite their employers hardly treating them as humans.
This is also a story with heroes and villains. And the good feeling when the bad guys get a little bit of what they deserve is quite satisfactory.
The men in the story play minor roles, and often their actions happen off camera. This story is all about women. It is the story of two groups that we rarely hear much about during the civil rights movement, and the changes they can effect even if they aren’t on the front lines.
The acting was exciting and when the main villain says, in her eternal upbeat and cheery voice: “You know, separate but equal” I felt like throwing something at the screen. All the parts were well portrayed.
The images and music were crisp and colorful in a way that signaled that this is a happy movie. The lawns were bright green and the sky was clear blue.
I like this movie, and it was well worth watching I wouldn’t mind watching it again at some point. I would even like to read the book that gets written in the movie. I am more then a little curious about those stories.
I would recommend this movie to anyone. It is a nice tale of injustice and a slow movement towards change. Something we all need to see at times.
Over to you
If you’ve recently seen “The help” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.
39 movies down. 326 to go.
If you want to get “The help” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?
Tomorrow’s movie is “The secret in their eyes” (“El secreto de sus ojos”). Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.
Until next time; live long and prosper.