The Help - Film Review

The Help - Film Review


Posted 2024-01-25 by PerthKelfollow
The Help is a 2011 film adaptation of the novel by Kathryn Stockett. The movie was directed by Tate Taylor and stars an ensemble cast including Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone. The Help was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide and earning four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, with Octavia Spencer winning for Best Supporting Actress.

The film takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s and follows the experiences of black maids working for white families during the Civil Rights Movement. Like the novel, the movie is told from the perspectives of Aibileen Clark (Davis), Minny Jackson (Spencer), and Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Stone). Aibileen and Minny are black maids working for white families, while Skeeter is a young white woman who aspires to be a writer. The three women come together to work on a secret project to document the experiences of black maids working in Jackson, hoping to shed light on the inequalities and injustices they face.

The Help movie follows the plot of the novel closely, but there are some notable differences in terms of the way the story is told and the emphasis placed on certain characters and plot points. One of the most significant differences is the increased focus on Skeeter's relationship with her mother, Charlotte (Allison Janney). While this relationship is present in the novel, it is given more attention in the movie, with the dynamic between the two women playing a more prominent role in the story.

The Help movie also places greater emphasis on the character of Celia Rae Foote (Jessica Chastain), a white woman from a poor background who hires Minny as her maid. Celia is a complex and sympathetic character who struggles to fit in with the white society of Jackson and is ostracized by many of the other white women in the town. Her relationship with Minny is a highlight of the movie, with the two women forming a close bond despite their vastly different backgrounds and circumstances.

One of the strengths of The Help movie is its cast, which features a number of outstanding performances from some of Hollywood's finest actors. Viola Davis delivers a powerful and moving portrayal of Aibileen, capturing the character's strength, resilience, and compassion. Octavia Spencer is equally impressive as Minny, bringing a mix of humour and heart to the role. Emma Stone, meanwhile, is well-cast as Skeeter, bringing a youthful energy and determination to the character.

Other standout performances in the movie include Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook, the conniving and vindictive leader of the white women's social circle, and Jessica Chastain as Celia Rae Foote, a character who is both vulnerable and fiercely independent. The supporting cast is also excellent, with actors like Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, and Cicely Tyson adding depth and nuance to their roles.

The Help movie is visually stunning, with the film's setting in 1960s Mississippi captured in rich detail. The costumes, hair, and makeup are all expertly crafted to evoke the time and place, with the film's visual style perfectly complementing the story and characters.

The film's portrayal of the relationship between the black maids and their white employers is complex and nuanced, with both empathy and critique for the white characters. While some of the white characters are portrayed as deeply racist and cruel, others are shown struggling with their own complicity in the system and making efforts to understand and support the black maids.

The Help movie is also notable for its focus on the experiences of black women, who are often marginalized or erased in historical narratives. Aibileen, Minny, and the other black maids in the film are depicted as strong, intelligent, and resourceful women who support each other and fight for their rights in a society that devalues and oppresses them. The film's message about the importance of solidarity and resistance in the face of injustice resonates deeply with audiences today.

In addition to its social and political commentary, The Help movie is also a beautifully crafted work of cinema that showcases the talents of its director, cast, and crew. The film's score, composed by Thomas Newman, is haunting and evocative, while the cinematography by Stephen Goldblatt captures the beauty and ugliness of Jackson, Mississippi with equal skill.

One of the criticisms of The Help movie is that it may present a somewhat simplistic and sanitized view of the Civil Rights Movement, particularly in its portrayal of the white characters. Some have argued that the film focuses too much on the personal relationships between the white and black characters and not enough on the larger political and social issues of the time. Others have raised concerns that the film may perpetuate the trope of the "white saviour," with Skeeter's role in the story overshadowing the experiences and agency of the black characters.

Despite these criticisms, The Help movie remains a powerful and important work of cinema that sheds light on the experiences of black maids during the Civil Rights Movement. The film is an emotional and thought-provoking portrayal of the systemic racism and discrimination that black Americans faced in the 1960s and the ways in which they resisted and fought for their rights and dignity.

The Help movie is a must-watch for anyone interested in American history, social justice, and cinema. While it is not without its flaws and criticisms, it remains a powerful and impactful film that has the potential to inspire empathy, understanding, and action in its viewers.


276160 - 2024-01-25 04:38:23


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