Movie Magic – The Help

Help_poster

 

Director:

Tate Taylor

Screenplay:

Tate Taylor

Starring:

Emma Stone as Eugenia Skeeter Phelan

Viola Davis as Abilieen Clark

Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson

Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook

 

Director Tate Taylor never loses sight of the casual racism so openly practised in the South during the 1960s whilst still managing to create a witty, moving and emotionally charged adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help.

The screenplay for this movie runs as close to the storyline of the book as viewing time will allow but the real hero of this adaptation has to be the casting. Viola Davis gives an incredible performance as Abilieen Clark, the maid raising her seventeenth white child while still dealing with the pain of losing her own son. She portrays the heartbreak of Abilieen’s circumstances in such a subtle yet emotionally powerful way that the pain etched on her face as she utters her goodbyes to little Mae Mobly is completely heartbreaking to watch.

Help-aibileen_2025595c

Octavia Spencer provides the comic relief to all the drama as the outspoken Minny Jackson with her revenge against her former employer bringing the light hearted break that is needed amongst all the anguish. Although she delivers a largely comedic performance Spencer’s ability to show a more serious side as Minny deals with her own battles in her abusive marriage is commendable. Emma Stone holds her own as the college graduate Skeeter Phelan, with her ability to show the naivety of the aspiring journalist she brings the character to life in a way that only she could.

THE HELP

From the brightly coloured posters and the movie trailers The Help may give the impression that it is a comedy however although highly entertaining it is centred around the trials and tribulations of people who dealt with racism and discrimination on a daily basis. Between the heart wrenching script and the superb performances from the leading ladies the result is a heart warming, emotional and worthwhile movie which deserves to be celebrated.

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Review: The Help

the-helpTitle: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Cover Copy: “Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…

There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own sons tragic death; Minny who’s cooking is nearly as sassy as her cooking; an white Miss Skeeter, home from college, ho wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Abileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell.”

My Thoughts: The Help is a novel narrated by three very different women, the respectful Aibileen with her dedication to raising her seventeenth white child little Mae Mobley, Minny who is unemployable due to her sassy mouth and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan the white college graduate who wants to make it as a writer. The story jumps between these three characters to develop an interesting look at life in the South in the 1960’s, from the social and racial boundaries to dynamics within family and friendships. Kathryn Stockett has created three compelling main characters and along with  the general tone of the novel this makes for an easy read despite the underlying subject matter of racial injustice. The great thing about this novel is how authentic the subject matter remains, this stems from the fact that Stockett is a Southern white woman and her experiences lend an element of truth to this fictional story. She poses the thought that, as well as plain racism, there was an element of tradition and fear of reprisal that allowed for the segregation to continue to such lengths. She shows this on both sides from the spread in popularity of white employers supposed need for separate bathrooms to the maids teaching their daughters how to act in service. This novel is both charming and humorous and it is no wonder that it became a best-seller based on these attributes.

Favourite Quotes:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

“Miss Skeeter, she frowning at Miss Hilly. She set her cards down face up and say real matter-a-fact, “Maybe we ought to just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly”

Final Thoughts:

Kathryn Stockett has managed to write a charming, witty and heart-warming novel while not neglecting the seriousness of the widespread racism of the time. It is a testament to her writing talent that she has produced a novel that has the ability to both entertain and highlight social injustice.