Movie Review: The Help
The highly anticipated movie, The Help, starring Emma Stone (white socialite, Skeeter Phelan), Viola Davis (maid, Aibileen Clark), and Octavia Spencer (maid, Minny Jackson) opened in theaters nationwide today. The Help movie which is based on "The Help" fiction novel authored by Kathryn Stockett, delves into the lives of maids in the 1960s of Jackson, MS, which is a pinnacle point of the Civil Rights Era.
Skeeter, a naive college graduate of Ole Miss, bonds with the maids to help them tell their stories of the deep hurts, humiliation, and the surprising joys they experience while working for white families in this time period. This movie is highly anticipated because one of the factors fueling the story line is race, and the story is authored by a white woman and directed by a white man both of whom grew up in Jackson, MS, with black maids.
The Help is more of a story about the human condition to overcome more so than it is about race. Race is just one of the threads woven in along with compassion, friendship, the strength of women, motherhood, and perseverance.
What a breath of fresh air to see working black actresses who we don't see often enough. Hands down, Viola Davis delivers an Oscar-worthy performance. Davis does an excellent job of portraying Aibileen's love for the children she cares for, the deep longing she feels for her son, and her quiet passion raging underneath her emotionless expressions.
The settings, wardrobe, makeup, and cinematography were also dead on which added an extra element to the entertainment experience. Because of these elements, Davis truly was able to become Aibileen.
Overall, I would say that this movie is average. The movie creates a lot of holes in the story that could have been filled if small but necessary pieces had been added to the movie. For example, in the movie Aibileen was not all that scared to talk to and be seen with Skeeter and vice versa. Skeeter was not discreet at all when talking to the maids about various things. She even goes as far as to track Aibileen down at the bus stop, which is unrealistic for this situation, and creates a different experience for the viewer. The biggest shocker is Constantine's daughter, which is very different from the story line of the book.Continued on the next page