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The Help Film Review

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With no expectations before walking into "The Help", I found it is one of those movies you walk out of feeling inspired and grateful that someone had the guts to make change.

Leading lady Emma Stone ("Superbad", "Zombieland", "Easy A") does just this in a very empowering fashion. The movie based on a bestselling book 'The Help', is set in the small American town of Mississippi in the 1960's. A conventional era when African American women were called in to 'Help' with all domestic duties for less than a slaves wage. These women basically played the role of second wife; raising the children, cooking and cleaning and were not even permitted use of the inside toilet.

Aspiring writer "Skeeter" is forced to build a relationship with three Help women including award Winning Viola Davis ("Doubt", "Eat Pray Love") who plays heart-broken but resilient Abilieen. Determined to get these three coloured women's stories, Skeeter endangers them and herself to enter a secret writing venture that breaks all societal norms.

Skeeter bucks the trend for southern woman of the time, choosing career over marriage. She gains a job writing for a noted newspaper, starting in the cleaning column with little knowledge of the sport. It's her ploy to ask one of the Help women for some 'Help' on the domestic piece, but is spurred on by a book editor in New York for a story that moves her.

She finally finds her way to speak to Abilieen, a third-generation housemaid, who at 53 years old has raised 17 children in her care. Over time Aibileen opens up to Skeeter, revealing some tragic stories. Minny (Octavia Spencer) is a gutsy 'help' housewife and known for her fabulous fried chicken. Minny is Aibileen's best friend, she's reluctant to help Skeeter, and wary of the white girls intention. There is a funny stint between Minny and the mischief-maker of the film, after getting fired for 'supposedly' using the indoor toilet, her revenge is 'sweet as pie'.

Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the well-groomed, queen bee of the of the young mothers' social network in Jackson, and is especially reluctant of Skeeters bid to talk to 'the Help' as the aspiring writer is yet to follow her into marriage and childbearing. Hilly is the character you love to hate.

Then there is Celia (Jessica Chastain) the un-pretentious newbie who is shunned by miss Hilly and the social scene of Jackson. Her lack of homemaking skills and her drive to please her husband make for a lovable and funny character that you can't help but warm too.

After a series of events Minny is sent to help Celia who willingly has the maid cooking up fried chicken to please her husband - all in secrecy. Skeeter slowly builds her stories, hearing the most disturbing and funny tales from the unknowing white and pretentious house wives. It's a fun adventure and pungent of hip-hugging vintage 60's fashion.

Overall there are moments you'll be shocked, cry and laugh at the rivalry between the races. "The Help" is an eye-opening, humorous, universal story about courage, sisterhood and the bid for change.

This inspiring story will hopefully have you leaving the cinema empowered to do what's right. And if you're a writer, perhaps motivate you to write your own bestseller. Length was the only let down but the story can't afford shortcuts.

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Why? Empowering movie takes viewers back to 1960s reality
Where: A cinema near you
Cost: Contact your local cinema
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