Movie Review | The Help #TheHelpMovie
It’s finally here…The Help is out in theatres as of August 10th! The Help was one of three great films that I got to see while in Los Angeles, and it made a huge impact on everyone in our group. There was hardly anyone who had not shed a tear. I was lucky enough to get to attend another screening of The Help on August 4th so the movie would be fresh in my mind as the rest of the world was gearing up to see it.
The Help is a film adaptation based on the bestselling novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The setting is 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi and follows the lives of several privileged young women in their early 20s and two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, who take care of their families.
Skeeter (Emma Stone) has just returned from Ole Miss and has taken a job at the Jackson Journal as the new Miss Myrna. The Miss Myrna column focuses on housekeeping, something that Skeeter knows hardly anything about. She asks her friend Elizabeth if she can speak to her maid, Aibileen (Viola Davis), for help with the advice she has to write. Elizabeth agrees, and a cautious relationship between Aibileen and Skeeter begins. As Skeeter begins working with Aibileen on the column, she discovers that she wants to write something deeper. It is her dream to work at Harper & Row, and Aibileen can help make that dream come true–if she’ll consent to be interviewed about what it is like to work as a maid. Ms. Stein (Mary Steenburgen) shows some interest in Skeeter’s proposition, but there’s a catch: she wants Skeeter to interview at least a dozen maids. When all seems hopeless, Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), Aibileen’s sassy best friend, agrees to speak to Skeeter about what it’s like working for Skeeter’s friend, Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard).
Hilly is the ring leader of the League, and sets the example for how the other young women are to act and even think. After she takes action against her maid Yule Mae (Aunjanue Ellis), the maids of Jackson get the courage to team up with Skeeter and let the rest of the world know what their lives are like. Once Skeeter’s novel is published, the lives of everyone change forever.
The Help is an incredible film; I loved each and every actor and actress that made this film come alive on the screen. It’s so hard for me to even pick a favorite because they were all so amazing. I have actually been an admirer of Octavia Spencer for quite some time; she has had small roles in TV shows like Raising the Bar, but I remember her best from a bit part on one of my favorite teen flicks, Never Been Kissed. Ms. Spencer is definitely leading lady material, and she just glowed as Minny. Jessica Chastain is lovely as Celia Foote, innocent and strong at the same time. I enjoyed her performance so much after seeing The Help in Los Angeles that I decided to watch Jolene. Ms. Chastain is incredibly talented, and I am eager to see any of her upcoming films. Viola Davis broke my heart as Aibileen, and I’m almost starting to tear up as I type this. Her relationship with Mae Mobley (Eleanor and Emma Henry) was so incredibly moving. There are scenes that took place between Ms. Davis and the child actresses that will be forever etched in my memory. Aibileen is such a gentle soul, but there is fire in her, too.
The cinematography was very beautiful; the colors were vibrant and just popped. Everything from the sets to the costumes looked like they had been meticulously researched so they would be absolutely authentic to the time period. The director and screenplay writer, Tate Taylor, grew up in Mississipi with author Kathryn Stockett, so he was very experienced with how to treat the sets and the costumes. Absolutely stunning work, and I just can’t wait to see what Mr. Taylor will work on next.
I strongly feel that The Help is a movie that will touch the lives of many. The book has already found a special place in the hearts of so many bookworms out there, and now this story will reach that same audience as well as many others. If you love stories with depth, heart and soul, and an incredible message, then this is a movie you need to see. It isn’t just a story that book clubs will love, or women in general; there were many men in the audience last night (including my father, who absolutely loved Octavia Spencer and wants to see her win an Oscar) and I could hear their laughs and their claps as they sat captivated and lost in the storytelling. Take your moms, dads, grandparents, and siblings and experience this movie for yourself. I hope you will all love it as much as I do.
*Disney and Dreamworks provided me with an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for a special screening of The Help. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.*