Film: The Help (2011)

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Film:

The Help

Director: Tate Taylor
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios

The #1 New York Times bestseller by Kathryn Stockett comes to vivid life through the powerful performances of a phenomenal ensemble cast. Led by Emma Stone, Academy Award®-nominated Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project—one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. Filled with poignancy, humor and hope, The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant story about the ability to create change.

Reviews

Amazon.com

There are male viewers who will enjoy The Help, but Mississippi native Tate Taylor aims his adaptation squarely at the female readers who made Kathryn Stockett’s novel a bestseller. If the multi-character narrative revolves around race relations in the Kennedy-era South, the perspective belongs to the women. Veteran maid Aibileen (Doubt‘s Viola Davis in an Oscar-worthy performance) provides the heartfelt narration that brackets the story. A widow devastated by the death of her son, she takes pride in the 17 children she has helped to raise, but she’s hardly fulfilled. That changes when Skeeter (Easy A’s Emma Stone) returns home after college. Unlike her peers, Skeeter wants to work, so she gets a job as a newspaper columnist. But she really longs to write about Jackson’s domestics, so she meets with Aibileen in secret—after much cajoling and the promise of anonymity. When Aibileen’s smart-mouthed friend Minny (breakout star Octavia Spencer) breaches her uptight employer’s protocol, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) gives her the boot, and she ends up in the employ of local outcast Celia (Jessica Chastain, hilarious and heartbreaking), who can’t catch a break due to her dirt-poor origins. After the murder of Medgar Evers, even more maids, Minny among them, bring their stories to Skeeter, leading to a book that scandalizes the town—in a good way. Not since Steel Magnolias has Hollywood produced a Southern woman’s picture more likely to produce buckets of tears (and almost as many laughs). —Kathleen C. Fennessy

Related Works

Book:The Help: A Novel

The Help: A Novel

Kathryn Stockett

Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver. Some lines will never be crossed.Aibileen is a black maid: smart, regal, and raising her seventeenth white child. Yet something shifted inside Aibileen the day her own son died while his bosses looked the other way. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is by some way the sassiest woman in Mississippi. But even her extraordinary cooking won’t protect Minny from the consequences of her tongue.Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter returns home with a degree and a head full of hope, but her mother will not be happy until there’s a ring on her finger. Seeking solace with Constantine, the beloved maid who raised her, Skeeter finds she has gone. But why will no one tell her where?Seemingly as different as can be, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny’s lives converge over a clandestine project that will not only put them all at risk but also change the town of Jackson for ever. But why? And for what? The Help is a deeply moving, timeless…[more]

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