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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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!