“Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.”
The background was Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960’s. A time when Civil Liberties were being challenged and in a state that was struggling with racism. Although there were moments of seriously funny, laugh out loud humor, the subject of the movie was anything but funny. As a matter of fact, there were times in that movie that I cringed at how badly people were treated. “The Help” was based on a best selling book – and I never read the book so the only thing I had to base my first opinion on was the commercials and the trailer for “The Help” – which, in my opinion, really was only showing the humorous side of the movie.
It did not show the moments of humiliation, of hurt, of cruelty, and I sure was not expecting to hear the “n” word in reference to some of the housekeepers in that movie. If you are expecting to watch “The Help” as a comedy or even a dry humor movie, you will be shocked like I was. Not that the movie was bad, it just was not what I expected.
There were times during that movie that I really felt like I might shed a tear for the injustices that were taking place. But on the other hand, there were times I felt my heart swell for the women who had the courage to stand up for what they believed in. And then, of course, there were the times the whole theater was laughing so loud you could not hear what was being said on the screen.
When Skeeter, comes back to Jackson after finishing college, she notices the injustices and racism that is shown towards the housekeepers and decides to write a book from “The Help’s” point of view. Hilly, the uptight, clearly racist, ring leader of the women in this story, plays her part so well, that she deserves some sort of award. She literally had me hating her character within 15 minutes of the movie. Aibileen and Minny, housekeepers, form an unlikely friendship with Skeeter and help her by sharing their stories. From horrific, to funny, the stories Skeeter hears are poignant and touching, heart wrenching and laugh out loud funny.
When Minny, one of the housekeepers, decides to exact her revenge on Hilly, I think everyone in that theater was laughing out loud. It and just kept giving, and giving the laughter of that part of the movie. Uncontrollable laughter from the audience.
Here is my only concern about this movie. It clearly shows racism. There is no doubt about that. I am not a racist, I don’t care what color your skin is, what you look like, all that matters to me is the type of person you are. Although I am not naive enough to believe racism has been annihilated, I do believe we have come a long way from the time period of this movie. And I would hope, that whether you are white, black, yellow, orange, or any color of the rainbow, instead of being insulted or offended, by the cruelty or injustices in this movie, you realize this movie was centered during a time of Civil Rights strife. That today, we have come a long way as a country, as a people, and as my Mom said, instead of focusing on the differences we have, we should focus on what we have in common – It would make us all better people.
Directed by Tate Taylor, THE HELP will open nationwide in theatres on Wednesday, August 10.
“Like” The Help on Facebook.* I was given advance passes to attend the movie screening to help facilitate my review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are my own.