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.
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.
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.