The Help Review

The Help

To take a number-one best selling book and twist it into a screenplay, as well as a credible story, is a trick only of the movie trade. For the movie The Help, it was a slippery slope to match the depth of detail, passion and danger of the written word within the book. Hollywood, however, did a spectacular job painting the picture of a 1960’s civil war-torn Mississippi with plantation-like homes, formal clothes, Southern hospitality and drawl, as well as the ugly store signs and language of a time most would prefer to put behind us, all enabling characters and plot to become real.

The Help tells a story of people denied the decencies in life, who want change but are unable to ignite the fire. Three unlikely people, Minnie and Aibileen, two poor African American maids, and Skeeter, a white, privileged, young college graduate who returns to her hometown to uncomfortable social situations and pressure to find a husband, come together to begin to adjust the scales of humanity.

Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis do justice to the characters Skeeter, Minnie and Aibileen, respectively. A nomination of honor should be given to Davis, her pain and long-suffering life is palatable on the screen as Aibileen. Her intelligence is exemplified by her actions following the racial conflict of the era, (specifically the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers), urging her fellow ‘help’ to push the social, and legal, laws of Mississippi. Spencer delivers the sass within Minnie so well, as does Stone with her naïve lines of race. The superior, smug and snotty persona of Hilly Holbrook was perfectly captured by Bryce Dallas Howard. Together the characters spin a good and honest story of the 1960’s community and their inequalities.

Those of us who devoured the book may be disappointed with the absence of raw emotion and sincere weight of dialogue and situations the book offered. For a story of such vulgar social disparity, I wanted more of the sentiment and internal conflict found in the book, the narration and quizzical facial depictions were just not enough on the screen. The book left me un-done with rage, feelings of justice being served and perhaps perpetuated, as well as educated on the dark actions of our fellow man. The movie only made me want to read the book again.

You will, however, enjoy The Help, the supreme acting and embodiment of the characters and story will suck you in. It will also enable you to believe in the righteousness of right, why good people deserve much more than indifference, and how change actually begins with one person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *