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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
« The Help » is a drama film by Tate Taylor. The movie takes place in
Jackson, Mississippi during 1960', during segregation. It was on screen
in 2011, it last 146 min.
Skeeter an aspiring writer wants to write a book to denounce segregation and the life of "the helps". She will be helped by Aibeleen and Minny. Aibeleen is a middle aged Africa American maid who works for Elisabeth Leefolt. Minny is the friend of Aibeleen and the domestic of Hilly Holbrooks. Hilly who is agree with the segregation will fight against Skeeter's project.
I think that this movie is very interesting. Despite an annoying soundtrack which dragged on too much, the storyline is believable and deep, with funny moments. The acting is amazing and the actresses are very convincing. In my opinion it's an entertaining movie and I advise you to go watch that movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I would like to share my opinion about the movie The Help (La couleur
des sentiments). This movie was adapted from the novel by Kathryn
Stockett. The Help talks about the conditions of the black maids in
Mississippi in the 1960s and their relationships with their bosses.
The question is : why do the rich families ask black maids to raise their children, while they refuse that the maids use the bathroom in the house ? Isn't it by pure racism ? In this society, the color of the skin decides which feelings an individual must have and how he needs to behave. Skeeter, the heroine, decides to write a novel and she interviews the black maids who have spent their life taking care of prominent southern families. We discover the life of these women. They are mistreated by the society, denigrated by their bosses but loved by the children they raise. These maids are extremely affected : we can see their difficulties and how they face their situations. The variety of stories of the different maids allows the audience to be affected differently. It depends on each one's sensitivity. The Help is a movie about women. The character of Skeeter represents the modern woman who tries to get her liberty through her work. She is the opposite of Hilly Holbrook and her friends who want to continue the traditions. The director of the movie never judges but he simply describes how things were during racial segregation in the United States. After seeing the movie, we understand how the American society of the 1960s was. Humor as well as emotions are waiting for you, allowing to understand this difficult social and racial subject.
This film came highly recommended by classmates of mine, and I must say
it did not disappoint. After watching this film I now can't wait to
read the book.
The entire story is based around the theme of social problems. In the film the social problem of race issues are represented when a small minority group makes the choice to speak out and about life as they know it in their small town of Mississippi.
The premise of the film starts with Skeeter (Emma Stone) graduating from college and in desperation to start her writing career takes a job writing for a cleaning column at the local newspaper. Skeeter struggles with understanding the simple mindedness of her childhood friends when it comes to how they treat their staff. Skeeter, desperate to share her observations, decides she would like to write about it all but in the perspective of the maids. At first and as expected, the maids refuse to help. After a stroke of courage, Aibileen (Viola Davis) does concede. Skeeter and Aibileen meet and the stories begin to pour. Aibileen's good friend Minny (Octavia Spencer) finds out about the secret meetings of Skeeter and Aibileen and also decides to join in with her story. Many other soon follow their lead to take Skeeter's writings to a much higher level than even she anticipated.
The social problems theme in the movie is relatable to that of the film the Green Mile. Although the characters in this film are not being physically abused the maids are constantly being abused verbally and emotionally. Given the time period in which both of these films take place the social problems are almost identical. Both films deal with race as the issue as well as have at least one person of a different race that is able to see past social status and color to try everything they can, to make some sort of difference.
In my opinion both the musicality and the lighting not only made this film extraordinary, but helped to re establish the theme of the film. Examples of this can be seen in many different scenes. For instance the lighting constantly reminds us how taboo it is for women like Skeeter to be seen with the help. When Skeeter travels to Aibileen's house to discuss the book, the lighting is dark helping the viewer to grasp the uneasiness as well as restate how unsafe, and illegal it was for Aibileen and Minny to be collaborating with Skeeter. The same can be said for the musicality of the film. Very often there is soft subtle music playing in the background giving the viewer the extra push to feel what the characters are feeling. Specifically in the scene where it is raining and everyone is made aware of how Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) feels about the help using the restrooms in her house. The scene starts with slow, soft, subtle music by the end of the scene Minny has been fired and is walking in a storm the slow heartbreaking music gets louder forcing the viewer to be emotionally vested in what just took place for Minny, and once again re iterating the theme of what is or was socially acceptable in that time period and in the film.
For a film that takes place roughly 50 years ago in the civil rights era, and primarily focuses on the social problems of that era, it was both entertaining and engaging.
The world is a combination of species that do not necessarily need to be mixed, but if you need to create together, the framework that gives you that magical texture to today. The history of Mankind is perfectly prepared, personalized, in fact every crazy thought and benevolent, but that mixture of thought, is where the new born and most beautiful human behavior. Each story is a time of learning, a time where many people was the sacrifice for us to learn a lesson, how sad is when some forget when some break the chain of knowledge that has cost both to mankind. Thanks "The Help" We can still remember the lessons learned and help those even after so long not been able to learn from our past, that we are all part of the great network called humanity.
It's hard to fault a movie like this, when it seems perfectly aware of
what kind of movie it wants to be, and does a great job achieving its
goal. Basically it is a typical feel-good story, set in a small town
with obvious racial tension. The story is at times predictable - though
that often feels irrelevant for movies like this. It has been
criticized for being another "white savior" movie, where the white
character is needed to help the black characters out of their
situation. I agree that it is too bad that there still are so many
movies about this kind of stories being made, this movie handles it
The highlight of this movie is the cast. There are some great performances in this movie from actors I was completely unfamiliar with. Mostly the "helps" are doing a great job, enhanced by convincing (to me) costume- and set-design.
I wish that this movie would have had higher ambitions, gone longer in exploring the good side of "evil" people and the bad side of the good - making the characters all more human. There is a scene near the end where a certain character reveals a side of herself. I wish that this could have been a thread throughout the movie, that this ambivalence was given - not a reveal. I guess it would have been a different movie, but definitely a more interesting one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Recently, I have re-watched 'The Help', and I can already say, the film
is even better the second time I've watched it. This film is a true
masterpiece and I'm surprised that people disliked the film. Still,
opinions are opinions, and it seems that they have their own. In this
review, I will go through a summary of the film, talk about the
characters, the presentation, the problems and my opinions on the film.
The story is about an aspiring author named Skeeter choosing to interview black women to write a book full of their views on situations. During the story, many scenes occur emphasizing the discrimination back in the 1960s. The jokes that show up in this film are hilarious and the scenes of drama are done perfectly. You feel empathy for the main characters when they're put in certain situations which could end up changing for the worst. To sum it up, the story was brilliant and I couldn't find any problems or flaws with the story.
The characters each have their own unique personalities and stories. Unlike Frozen, the characters and support characters actually mean something. They have stories that leave you in tears. Minny is a hilarious character and has two lines that stay in your mind for a while. Skeeter is a very interesting character. The story emphasises her desire to write a book, and eventually, that dream comes true. Abileen is very three dimensional and has many great moments. She is a great character because without her in the plot, the story wouldn't be able to develop. Overall, the characters are brilliant and even the smaller characters are as good as the main.
The presentation is great. The lighting is vibrant and smooth, and the houses and sets are bright and spacious. The trees and plants in this film are bright and green. One thing I like about the lighting is how the film is possibly set in summer. They have obviously done a good job with the lighting, and it makes the film's scenery pop.
With every film comes a problem. One of the problems of the film was too careful not to offend anyone. They held back on the truth of what the times were like back then, but I'm sure they wanted to keep this film at a 12+ rating. Another problem is how saturated the lighting is. Yes I was praising the lighting for looking smooth and vibrant, but the colours seem unrealistically bright at times. In conclusion, I think this film has done a good job with showing off 1960s America without going overboard. While they may hold back on a few aspects, they make it up to you with hilarious comedy, great drama and memorable quotes. If you see this film in the shop, I recommend buying it to see how it holds up for you. I give this film an 8/10.
I found this movie sad. It depicted the way colored people were treated and they were treated as sub-human. Those parts of this film made me angry actually. I did really like the revenge parts of what the one maid did to her employer... Without adding spoilers to this, the other revenges which took place...It was a very good film actually and with very good acting...I was very much moved by the film and at times almost to tears with some parts...Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were awesome in the film...I would recommend this movie to be watched..It does tell the true way of how colored people were badly treated and regarded as slaves to racist white people.
This is sweet and polished, too much for my taste. I would have
preferred less Spielberg and more Altman, less sugary reality and more
wandering and friction. I like that it opens up a portal to a world,
perhaps often talked about or acknowledged in historic importance,
still rarely seen from the inside of houses and neighborhoods - it's
Mississippi in the 60s during the Civil Rights sweep.
The main device that gives the story shape is nicely simple - a plucky young girl wants to tell a story that enters life beneath the facade of formalities and finds truth. She aspires to be a journalist and not like the other ditzy Southern belles who idle at parties. We understand the story to be as much a vessel for escape from the confines of that world as a revelation. In 30s screwball she would have been a hardnosed news reporter who fights for her place in a male world.
Her story, having no first hand insight, is a collection of stories by maids who step forward to talk about their life and mishaps. Their stories are assembled into a book, published from New York, which is a hit and finds its way home, opening up a portal in that life whereby white people end up reading the stories of maids they had ignored all their life in the same house. The film as this book and aiming for a similar function of gathering up stories to enlighten.
It is as eyeopening on the subject as 12 Years a Slave I guess and about the continuation of much the same oppressive apartheid state. But it sticks less because it sugarcoats more, redeems good guys and punishes bad and washes everything clean - so I leave it with all the work done for me and brushed aside instead of something I will have to carry back home. Indicative of this sensibility is that the girl 'makes it' and leaves for New York while, lost in the redemptive jubilee, is that the women will have to go back to much the same life of helping around the house. This is not the version the subject really deserves - that would ideally come from a black Cassavetes, someone who enters a house not just to tidy up.
Davies is suitably strong in a stoic role - but what amazed me was Chastain, to have known her as pensive and ethereal and to see her here so natural as the complete but lovable ditz with a big heart. What a marvelous woman who can swap bodies and selves.
Lucky #13 for 2011 !! This little film came in right after a dozen blockbuster movies for year's best grossing films. Any guesses as to why.. every talent and casting agent will readily tell you. Guaranteed without one name attached, it does not come anywhere near as close (and her part in this production is limited). There's only a small number of names that incite you to search out what other work they would have done.. she is one. As for this film, she brought the audience to the table, and it is a very worthwhile experience for those who might not have gone there without her participation. The number of individuals labeling themselves 'actor' is huge... but those who are truly talented, in addition to being a full-fledged 'movie-star'... now that's a minuscule number.
I may be giving this a higher rating that it deserves; it's a
predictably plotted story and you know how a lot of it's going to go,
what lessons may be learned by and to whom and so on. But like The
King's Speech, it's nice to see an Oscar-bait(ish) movie that has
strong performances (with one exception, which I'll get to momentarily)
and on its own terms is pretty good. Not very good, or great, and The
Help may be overrated, but it carries a strong message and I liked
seeing these actors as these characters together, for the most part.
As a story surrounding the Noble White Savior(TM) it surprised me how the cast was handled very evenly (Viola Davis got a best actress, not supporting, nomination for good reason and probably should've won all things considered). I thought it would be the Emma Stone show, with her as the Mississippi writer who works for a local paper but gets inspired by what she sees with the local maids working for generations (basically linked by blood and heritage and all to slavery) and gets a book deal about what it's like for 'the Help' to work and live. I though that all these other women (this is very much a woman-centric movie as well, which is commendable, albeit directed by a man) as small side characters. Not really the case, which helps since if you get tired of seeing one character it'll soon flip over to another.
I heard from a few friends in the years before seeing this that Octavia Spencer's Minny was over the top, playing up the "mmHMM" Big Black Lady stereotype and got an undeserved Oscar. I thought she was fine, and more than that really, and got to portray a fully fleshed out character, and especially put against two very different white ladies - Bryce Dallas Howard's Hilly and Jessica Chastain's Celia, both she works for at separate times - we see how she can be your best friend or your worst enemy (if you push her far enough and hard for a long time like Hilly).
If I had any problem it was with Howard, though that may be more in the writing; she's the one clear antagonist, but by and large because whenever she's on screen, even if she's sitting peacefully and only saying a little bit, there's a feeling like 'oh wow, what's she about to say now or put on that ugly-mean thing that has the guise of 'Southern Gentility'. But with what little she's given I found Howard more caricature than character, while Chastain, also seemingly not given quite a lot with a white-trash lady like Celia, she was a lot more fun and interesting and had real dynamics to play with (and tragedy as well). Perhaps I'm wrong and Hilly was fun to play as well, but I'm not sure I saw it.
The heart of the movie though is Davis, and without her I probably wouldn't recommend the movie as much as I do. Yes, the great Allison Janney, in just a handful of scenes, does wonders as she always does as Stone's mother, and Emma Stone's Skeeter herself is really good as well (a few moments that should be especially tear-jerkery, like with a revelation surrounding a formerly employed maid who raised Skeeter, feel earned just by how much the actresses commit and don't let a lot of falsehood enter their performances).
But I just felt the movie take it up a notch or two with Davis there, and I'm sure (first-time!) director Tate Taylor knew that as well. Just simple scenes showing Aibileen playing with the little white baby girl, or protecting her under a mattress during a tornado, there's just so much warmth to play with but also a lot of horror from that period of time in history, and she finds it all. Even (maybe especially) when she says little and is just standing there, exhausted, sad, trying to hide her deep-seated rage, Davis reminds us not just about how good she can act but about the constant, just understood horrors of the black experience at that time and place.
In short, The Help is highly watchable as an actor's movie, and compensates for a little over-length (I'm not sure where, but it could've lost ten minutes somewhere I bet) and with things moving at a pace where you know how things will end up with this book coming out and who may or may not get it. Needless to say the ending also caught me off guard for how emotional it got, also genuinely and to a point where I was sold by what the actors were doing but also the deeper implications of what this ending meant for everyone involved.
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