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I won't venture in to great detail about the film; I just really felt compelled (after seeing the film half an hour ago) to express my heartfelt thoughts on such a beautiful and touching film. Not only did it bring tears to my eyes (and cheeks, and chin, and blouse!) it made me laugh, made me contemplate and also reflect greatly on the history and thought provoking truth that the film so touchingly, and truthfully depicts. It was beautifully directed, fantastically acted and above all, this films ability to touch the hearts of all those in the theatre really made it a magical experience. Not only is it a film with an historical message, it is a film with a mood; hope. I could go on, but I won't. All I have left to say is please go and watch this incredible film.
It took me 3 days to read the book and I went out and watched the movie right afterwards, with every detail still fresh in my mind. Of course in a book based film there will be some differences, details that get left out. I was thoroughly pleased with this film and how close it came to the book. The things that were changed or left out are understandable. There are a couple of small things I wished the movie stayed true to: Constantine being a large, tall woman, and of course the way that Stuart left Skeeter. Although, I would have been happy if they left out him leaving all together and had him stay with her :) The cast they chose was incredible. I am a huge Emma Stone fan, but I have to say that Hilly's character was my favorite. That beautiful woman played that horrible part so well. And please let me revert back to a teenager for a moment and say that Chris Lowell is a hottie. Last but not least... I saw interviews saying that Aibileen's character was really going to have to work hard to fill the shoes and believe me, SHE DID, but I have to say that Octavia Spencer was outstanding. Minny stole the show. This is an incredible film and I will watch it over and over.
￼This film is mildly recommended.
No, I didn't read the book, but I did see The Help. There seems to be a bit of a well-deserved "blacklash" about the whitewashing done in the well-meaning and well-made film adaptation of the popular best seller. And I can honestly agree with the uproar over the many candy- coated scenes of Southern discomfort and stereotypical female role models presented in this earnest film, a film that only hint at the violent and racist times of the sixties during the fight for equality with the Civil Rights movement. Yet, I can still recommend it due, in large part, to the terrific ensemble of actors that bring the right "help" to elevate this mawkish and sentimentalized material.
It's 1964 and everything is literally black and white in Jackson, Mississippi. There is an hidden underbelly of prejudice and hatred in this town that rarely manifests itself, except for the fine production values that capture the tiers of injustice and social division. ( The art direction by Curt Beech and costume design by Sharen Davis work wonders to show this disparity of class struggle.)
All the female characters become walking caricatures of strong-willed Southern belles, which may have been the case back then, but seems to me to be inspired too heavily with the leftover carcasses of other good ole country women's empowerment ilk, feel good films like Steel Magnolias, The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, The Blind Side, and Fried Green Tomatoes that outwear their welcome long before the film ends.
You know, you've seen the types before: the modern thinking progressive heroine, Skeeter, ( Geez, even the name sends shivers! ) well acted by the talented Emma Stone; the prejudiced beauty queen and mean spirited ringleader, Bryce Dallas Howard ( another fine performance ), the pretty and obedient trophy wife (Ahna O'Reilly), the bubble-headed but kind sexpot ( Jessica Chastain ). Even their elders, nicely played by Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek are rich, pampered, and stereotypical products of that era. Them crazy white folks with unique Dixie names like Hilly, Celia, Jolene, and the aforementioned Eugenia "Skeeter"!
Well, it seems that Skeeter wants to write a tell-all book about the black repression and their indignation from the point of view of the black maids, the later day "Mammies" of the Sixties decade. Praise the Lord we've still got the strong caring types in our Merry Maids Southern labor force of black help. Leading the way are stoic, loving, and wise Aibileen and angry, dependable, and comic Minny, coming to the white folks' rescue, a-cooking, a-cleaning, and a-rearing their children and making it right by telling the world their tales of woe.
Seriously speaking, it is a minor miracle that wonderful actresses like Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer inhabit these roles. They supply the dignity and power to this underwritten and highly predictable roles. These actresses contribute such strength and nuance to their characters and should earn some justified nominations this award season.
Director / writer Tate Taylor does a commendable if somewhat lackluster job with his film. His film marginalizes the seriousness of its subject matter and is perfectly content to become the mellowest of melodramas with its feel good message of womanhood and liberation overshadowing the Civil Rights movement and the ugliness of discrimination and segregation. With its rather slim but diverting story and its far too obvious plot devices and routine structure, The Help is another example of a promising idea that avoids any complexity or depth, a film more interested in the nostalgic haze of yesterdays than the harsh realities of the black struggle for equality.
The uplifting hopeful ending also seems false and unrealistic. In fact, the whole film seems hopelessly unrealistic to me. It is as if the film's sole purpose is to entertain, simplify, and amuse, and on that level, it efficiently succeeds. But it's the actors who pitch in and rescue The Help from its own limited rose-colored vision. Grade: B-
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I thought that this movie was supposed to be set in the American South
in the 1960s. But really it seems to be set in an alternate universe
where nothing makes any sense. How is it that the protagonist has grown
up in the same society as all the other (racist) women, yet has a
completely modern, 21st century viewpoint? Things just don't work that
Racism in the movie was portrayed as a pervasive but ultimately trivial issue. The movie reduced racism to the petty meanness of society ladies, largely skirting issues such as sexual harassment and mob violence. We have one scene of police brutality and another scene with a vague reference to a shooting, but these events seem to come out of nowhere and vanish without a trace afterward. What happens to the woman who is arrested, after the arrest? We never find out.
Another thing that bothered me about this movie was how the black women are portrayed as largely feeble and helpless until the white women ("Skeeter" and Celia, in particular) teach them to stand up for themselves. This was partly due to the fact that the movie was, first and foremost, about Eugenia's coming-of-age experience and not about "the help" at all. But still, it was dissatisfying.
In addition to these issues, the characterization was rather poor and the cinematography was nothing special.
I wish I were more well-versed in history, so I really lay into this movie properly. But even as my uninformed self, I could tell that there were many things wrong with this movie. Not recommended.
Absolutely the best movie of the last few years. Loved it. Laughed, cried, related, remembered, and remember Martin Luther King's speech I have a dream. This is an awesome movie everyone should see. Racism is disgusting and should never be. This movie was so good and had such a great message I didn't want it to end. I grew up with racist parents and grandparents and I can tell you I could very well have ended up prejudice but I hated it then and I hate it now. We make choices in life if we are going to do right or wrong and we all bleed red. If people can't get along on earth what makes anyone think God wants them in heaven? This was wonderful how they presented what was still going on in the 60s. I saw the racism and hatred with the watts riots, the tension in Long Beach, and the hatred from both sides. This movie was presented so good and had such great aspects to it that it was the one movie in hundreds I have seen that I would even want to give a review on. Acting great, story great, and even if it was just a presentation of what things went on and might not have been about a particular family...this was pretty darn accurate by what I lived through in the 60s. Thanks for the movie. It was a delight to watch and I give it a triple A rating. All families should watch this together and discuss it after because it truly should win every award out there.
The Help, based on the novel of the same title, deals with the rise of
the black help in the 60's in the overall quest for equality between
the races and more specifically the equality of civil liberties. The
film plays out as a neat 3-acter with barely any surprises along the
way. For a film dealing with these sorts of issues it is surprisingly
black and white and straightforward. The soundtrack is nothing more
than sugarcoating for the overly pretty sceneries and often annoys.
Some roughness to the film seems sorely lacking, it almost plays out
like a cartoon. Fans of the film should also want to check out the 2007
film 'The Great Debaters' (Denzel Washington, Forrest Whitaker) with a
comparable premise which suffers from the same, in my opinion,
An inspirational drama, The Help (a deft adaptation of Kathryn
Stockett's best-selling novel) is a rousing film with an endearing
heart and subtle poignancy that is sometimes overlooked, but once
discovered is a certain crowd-pleaser.
Set in Jackson, Mississippi at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, Emma Stone plays the plucky, fresh-out-of-college Skeeter, who is just plain enough to stand out in her clique of well-to-do white housewives who, beneath their frivolous goings on, treat their black house- helps like slaves. Aggrieved at the racial bigotry she witnesses, and determined to break into the New York literary world, she resolves to write a book that will allow the town's black maids to give a voice to their experiences. Her idea is met with lucrative publishing prospects, but finding any maid willing to give her the real story is a problem. Viola Davis plays Aibileen Clark, who carries a sorrow that is only partly built from a lifetime of servitude. She has lost her own child to racial prejudice and is faced with the growing horrors of racism every single day at work. Then there is her feisty, too-sassy-to-suffer-forever friend Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) who undergoes similar humiliation at the hands of the meticulously- coiffed society princess Miss Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard). Although with some trepidation, the two finally open up to Skeeter and once they do, the other maids join in and stories begin flowing. Soon, through clandestine meetings, they manage to start something that becomes a force of real change!
The Help paints its characters, black and white alike, with a very broad bush that adroitly pushes the audience's buttons to elicit laughter and tears. On the surface, The Help might seem like another discourse on the evils of racism. But look closer and you will find that it is a much more complex tale. While the story takes place at a time of seismic social upheaval, racism is just a sidelight in a story that centers on the commonalities that the women faced in the repressive air that filled the early 1960s. In Tate Taylor's hands, a storyline that could have been mushy and preachy becomes genuinely stirring. He succeeds in creating characters you really care about and delivers its message without resorting to sickly sweet sentimentality or becoming too self-congratulatory.
And then there are the charming performances that give the story such heart. Taylor expertly juggles all the characters and their stories, providing each actress a chance to stand out in a flock of fascinating women. Stone has an innate likability and is sparkling as Skeeter. Howard embodies the hissable Hilly with a vibrant panache. Jessica Chastain delivers the wonderfully tacky, white- trash Celia with flair, giving her pathos and earnestness. Both Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek are faultless in their maternal turns. But it's Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who breathe life into the movie in their career defining performances. Davis gives Aibileen an elusive truth that jumps off the screen and delivers a perfectly nuanced performance (her hypnotic gaze alone could carry a film). Spencer plays a wonderfully cheeky Minny, offering plenty of comic relief, and a respectable honesty to her sass.
The Help picks its audience up and carries it along in its engrossing, affecting wake: and then, like the best nursemaids, it calms us down with a large spoonful of healing syrup. The Help not only has its 'pie' but eats it too (Pun intended. Be assured, you'll never look at chocolate pie the same way again)!
After some resistance, Skeeter is able to record the testimonies of several African American women who work as "the help" for white, Southern families. They reveal how they are treated as well as the secrets of the families they work for. This film in set in the 1960's Civil Rights era. It is two-sided in that it shows there were white families and people that were in favor for equal treatment of African Americans. The film is able to convey messages of equality in an uplifting tone through use of comic relief. The scenery of Mississippi provides beautiful views throughout the film. Emma Stone is a fun character and seems really genuine with the interviewees. Viola Davis (who plays Abileine, a maid) is an amazing actor making the film more realistic. In summary, I would recommend this film to those who are interested in historical films as well as people who enjoy Emma Stone as an actor.
I and my family enjoyed watching this film. It's a delicious blend of laughter and tears, hope and fear, and ended with a good message. Just like everyone else, I agree that this is a great cast, many of them delivering subtle and powerful performances. Although there are sad moments, heartbreaking moments, there are also very funny moments too. You can feel humanity resonating here and there. The story is not dark. There is hope, there is a trust in the good side of people, a warm feeling from friendship and humanity that comfort your heart a whisper that says "love will conquer in the end." The villain, Hilly, was an excellent example of the pharisees and their hypocrisy.She presents herself as the most godly woman in the community but actually she is the most godless person among them. Hilly is presented in contrast with Celia, who is a little crazy and unmannered, but very sincere and sweet. This film shows us love, hatred, patience, honesty, courage, and after all...love your enemy. :)
In my opinion, The Help is a nice introduction to how women were
treated/perceived in the 1960s, and more importantly a good way to
instigate a conversation about the civil's right movements with young
kids because this movie touches these subjects without getting too deep
into it. It's the Disney version - meaning it's not gritty and raw -
it's neat and clean, meant to not offend anybody but the everything is
there even when it's only hinted.
The movie's long, over 2h30, but it has a lot of ground to cover and before I looked it up I didn't even thought it was that long. It can only mean that it is a smooth experience. I don't mean smooth as in it's a blend, monotonous movie because it's not, you are pulled into the story and get emotionally invested without getting too riled up - it's Disney after all.
The source material is good but the cast really did an amazing job. Each and everyone of them portrayed their character, however stereotypical some of them might have been, brilliantly. It was simply great ensemble that director.
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