Director: Tate Taylor
Cast: Emma Stone (Skeeter), Viola Davis (Aibileen), Octavia Spencer (Minny), Bryce Dallas Howard (Hilly), Jessica Chastain (Celia), Allison Janney (Skeeter’s mom)
Here’s a movie I would have totally ignored hadn’t it been one of the big contestants for this year’s awards season. As I’m trying to check out all the nominees for the Best Picture category of the Academy Awards, I decided to finally watch The Help. And I’m really happy I did, because I loved it! In this review, I will tell you why, and hope it encourages you to see it yourself. Set in the 60’s, The Help is the story of an aspiring writer called Skeeter who, seeing the injustices that black maids have to face everyday, decides to expose the racism they suffer by writing a book from their point of view.
Though there’s no doubt this movie is a drama, it is not a depressing one. On the contrary, I think it is inspiring and up-lifting. I love this kind of stories in which people see how unfair our world is and actually have the guts to stand up and do something to change it. They are worthy of being imitated. Once again, I cannot believe the stupid racial discrimination of the time, especially if you consider it was the 60’s, which don’t seem so far away. As I didn’t live those years, and I’ve never even been to the United States (nor did I research so much), I can’t say whether this movie is historically accurate. I’ve read an article by the ABWH that says it wasn’t. What do you think? Was discrimination towards black people in the US as depicted in the movie? Was it not that bad, was it worse?
The pace of the narration is perfect to me. It didn’t bore me a single minute, and it kept me interested in everything that happened. I like that the strings of the plot (or most of them) aren’t tied in the typical hollywoodesque way. Because of that, the ending didn’t disappoint me, because it is not exactly what everyone would expect.
The Help focuses almost completely on the female characters, which are in my opinion all very interesting. I love Skeeter because she’s not like other women. She doesn’t care about getting married as much as she cares about her career, and she stands up for what she believes is right. Emma Stone is absolutely perfect for the role. She proves in this performance that she’s got a lot of potential inside her, which I hope will be exploded in the next movies she stars. Both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer portray their characters of the black maids marvellously. I particularly liked Octavia, who makes her character of Minny genuine, lovely and funny. As Hilly, Brice Dallas Howard knows how to be mean and still make it look like the most natural thing, wearing a big feminine smile all the time. I also like Celia (starred by Jessica Chastain), because she looks like such a silly dumb headed woman, but then you see there’s a lovely wonderful person beneath. Well, even the characters of Skeeter and Hilly’s moms are good. The only problem I find with the ensemble cast are the men, not because the actors are bad, but because we don’t know anything about their characters. The boy who Skeeter dates, Celia’s husband Johnny, Minny’s husband (who we don’t even get to see). They seem to be just devices in the plot, flat characters who are there because they’re needed, but who don’t add much and are easily forgotten.
Finally, I would like to stand out how beautiful the setting of The Help is. In general, all period movies and series are attractive to me, particularly the ones from the 60’s. Everything looks so perfect, so neat. I wish I could wear one of those dresses without looking ridiculous nowadays. Oh, and the gardens, and the cars, and the decoration of the houses, and the glasses! ♥ It must be not easy at all to set all that in a period movie, so the filmmakers of The Help deserve credit for that too.
So, I gave you more than one reason to watch this movie. I assure you it is worth watching, and in fact I think it is the best one of 2011 I’ve seen (I also love Midnight in Paris, but being more objective I think The Help is superior). I’ll have to check out the rest of the nominees, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie won the Best Picture Oscar this year. ☼
Watch the trailer ↓
– Written by GuadiRC –