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It Never Hurts To Help

August 19, 2011

I honestly, at first, had no idea what to expect from this movie….except for a few things:

  • 1- it would be long (146 mins)
  • 2- it would prompt both laughter and tears, and
  • 3- the average age of the audience would be 57!

I was correct on all 3…but…there’s more! Delightfully.

The Help, starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, and more crosses several boundaries in bringing this tale of overcoming opposition of a delicate kind. The taboo issues that the film revolves around will undoubtedly spark up feelings of disdain, or regret, or surprise, or remorse that are quickly relieved with the lighthearted comedy throughout causing the movie to be a well-natured, in-your-face, change-inducing story. Here is a quick featurette, not a trailer, for the film. Check it out prior to reading further:

Based on the bestseller by author Kathryn Stockett, it may surprise you to learn that, reportedly, Stockett received 60 rejection letters for her book prior to its acceptance and subsequent publishing. The Help, rightfully so, has earned its place on the bookshelf of America and soon to be in the movie cabinet of the world. I wonder if part of the dedication and determination of Skeeter (Stone) comes directly from the author’s own experiences in getting her book published.

You remember those 3 things I was right about at the beginning? Well, here’s a few things that surprised me about The Help.

  1. All of the characters’ natural chemistry with each other lends itself to the believability of the film and allows the story to be told without distraction. (Jessica Chastain opposite Bryce Dallas Howard opposite Emma Stone brings amazing dynamics that entertain incessantly; while Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer deservedly receive more screentime than I’ve ever seen them have before…and it works, oh so well.)
  2. The time period drama’s look and feel practically transports the viewer directly to what I’d believe to be a very accurate portrayal of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s.
  3. Initially thinking this to be a chick-flick, I was pleasantly proven wrong right from the beginning.

So much of this film is terrific. The portrayal of the racial tensions, the struggles of Emma Stone’s character, the reality of the danger of what they were doing, the preposterous conniving ways of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, the blending of comedy and tragedy, the story itself. Truly a well done film.

With the exception of a couple of misplaced or unnecessary portions ***(i.e. a seemingly forced in love interest for Emma Stone, etc) the movie succeeds in accomplishing all it set out to do. The Help not only focuses on the maids in Jackson, nor does it only focus on the help they gave to Skeeter (Stone) in writing her book (very little in the beginning even deals with the book). It focuses on the help that Skeeter (Stone) gave to the maids; it focuses on the help that the maids gave each other; it focuses on help, in general, coming from and going to unexpected people and places…regardless of race, position, sex, or creed, we all can help each other or could use some help.

***I expect, having not read the book, that some of the seemingly misplaced portions receive better attention/explanation in the book. The filmmaker blended the elements in decently enough, but at already over 2 hours, any more would’ve been a major drag to the film.

This movie is SO much better than a piece of chocolate pie! 😉 But, you don’t have to take my word for it:

Go see The Help. A welcomed pleasant surprise of a film! Do not pass it up! Rated PG-13 for thematic material and language, this film is full of inspiration, laughter, a few awkward moments, a few touching moments, history, and help! A fantastic story!

Movie trivia: Octavia Spencer starred in 2002’s Spiderman as the woman who checks in Peter Parker to the cage wrestling match. Both Bryce Dallas Howard and Emma Stone co-star in this film…and both have and/or will be Gwen Stacy in a Spiderman film.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!

TheSp1der’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars for “The Help

up next: Review for Fright Night!

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2011 10:24 am

    Sounds like a delightful film. I find it surprising that a lot of people get bent out of shape w/ the ‘white person helping black people’ theme (some are saying the same thing now about MGP) I mean if that is what the true story is, then what is wrong with that?? I believe this is based on a white woman’s memoir, right? As a person of color, I have no problem when someone reaches out to help, no matter what race or nationality.

    Btw, that’s a neat trivia about the cast being related to Spider-man somehow, cool!

    Like

    • August 19, 2011 12:47 pm

      This film really is about the help that everyone gave each other. That complaint should be a mute point honestly as there are multiple layers of help.

      Like

  2. August 19, 2011 1:15 pm

    It’s a few weeks til this comes out in the UK so I’ve been toying with the idea of reading the book first but having read your review I’m not sure if I need to.

    Great review – thanks.

    Like

    • August 19, 2011 4:29 pm

      I hope that you get to see the movie soon!

      Welcome to the page!! thanks for reading and commenting! and for your compliment!

      I really was surprised with the movie!

      Like

  3. TheSilkSpectre permalink
    August 19, 2011 9:26 pm

    I was really hoping that they would leave out the love interest, I thought it was unnecessary in the book as well.

    I really, really want to see it though!

    Like

    • August 19, 2011 9:32 pm

      well, that is unfortunate. I was hoping that it would prove more useful in the book. I felt it was rather unnecessary and could’ve shortened the film without it.

      Great and enjoyable movie though! Thanks!

      Like

  4. August 20, 2011 9:24 am

    This one went on for a long long time, but the cast made it fun to watch even though it wasn’t as inspirational as I was expecting. Also, somebody needs to get Viola Davis a damn Oscar! Good Review!

    Like

    • August 20, 2011 10:51 am

      True story. Thanks for stopping in! I enjoyed the film and hope she does receive her deserved Oscar attention.

      Like

  5. August 25, 2011 7:17 pm

    Since you say it is not a chick flick would you then call it a drama?

    BTW, the book does I guess flesh out storylines a bit more. (I am still waiting my turn to see the movie.) The love interest in the book is forced but it is forced because it is expected in that time period that a woman will get married, run a home and have children…

    Like

  6. August 25, 2011 7:23 pm

    Brenda, thanks for stopping by! I initially expected it to be a chick flick, being that the previews show practically NO men at all. But I was delightfully wrong. So, yes, I think drama is appropriate. I hear what you’re saying with the whole “marriage love interest” thing…but it was borderline unnecessary for the film’s focus. But that doesn’t deter my love for the film!

    Like

  7. August 26, 2011 11:10 am

    Despite my problems of the film, I do agree that this is one of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen. Viola Davis, who schools Meryl Streep in Doubt, gives a generous performance here and lets everyone shine. I couldn’t pick a best in show. Maybe Bryce Dallas Howard’s showy turn? Her sitting down on a table is more powerful than anyone else on their own two feet.

    Like

    • August 26, 2011 5:52 pm

      Please do share your problems with the film. I am interested.

      I hope that Viola Davis receives award recognition for this performance. and Bryce Dallas Howard, well, let’s just say I am glad she did so super well in this one…especially after her useless performance in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter!

      Like

      • December 9, 2011 12:23 am

        Just the little things like the accent work and how everything in this movie falls into place. Sometimes it’s too conventional for its own good.

        Like

      • December 10, 2011 7:04 pm

        still a good flick altogether! Hope Viola Davis gets some Oscar attention.

        Like

  8. yaykisspurr permalink
    December 5, 2011 6:12 pm

    Yeah I’m reading the book right now. I want to wait and see the movie after. I might have to buy the DVD or rent it. It sounds like a different experience watching than the reading has turned out to be. Thanks for the review. Now I definitely want to see it. Cheers…

    Like

    • December 5, 2011 7:36 pm

      any time, thanks for reading! I will be genuinely interested in your thoughts on the movie after reading the book. Please be sure to send me the link when you finally do review it!!

      Like

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