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The Help (Flack’s Review)

Posted on | January 2, 2012 | Add Comments

The Help (Flack’s Review)

5 Stars

The Help tells the story of Skeeter, a young white lady trying to get a job as a writer. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s and tries to get black maids to share their stories for a book called The Help. Aibileen  and Minny, two maids join with Skeeter and begin their controversial journey to try to publish the book and try to change other people’s opinions about colored people. As problems mount they must go against all odds to stay safe, show their opinions, get other maids to also share their stories, and be free.

The Help is an emotional movie that is at the same time sad, enjoyable, funny, and encouraging. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone lead a great cast. All the actors are excellent and help the movie’s story flow. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Hilly Holbrook. She makes you not like her and in this case that’s good. The ensemble cast works great together and their chemistry is some of the best I have ever seen.

The movie is 146 minutes long but is never boring. The director, Tate Taylor, also wrote the screenplay based on the book by Kathryn Stockett. The story is very interesting and teaches a good moral about not judging books by their covers. It is a little complex but now that I understand it I would like to watch it again.

There are lots of subplots in the story and the last 25 minutes of the movie could have seemed too neatly done. But the cast and crew make sure you feel every emotional moment and you get attached to all the characters. The suspense builds nicely and when one scene is done you are compelled to watch the next scene.

Although the story is a drama there are a few moments of fun comedy including an incident surrounding a pie. All the parts involving Viola Davis are great but the ones meant to be sad and emotional (I cried) stick with you. I also think that the movie’s characters are very well developed. Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote and Allison Janney as Charlotte Phelan anchor a strong supporting cast.

It is hard to choose my favorite character because the actors worked together as an ensemble. Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Bryce Dallas Howard and Emma Stone are magnificent. However for Oscar chances, Viola Davis (for Best Actress) and Octavia Spencer (for Best Supporting Actress) are particularly strong candidates.

My favorite scenes are when all the maids come to Aibileen’s house, when Aibileen  talks about her son, the bittersweet ending, and two particularly funny scenes involving pranks. The first scene I listed makes you want to stand up and cheer. The next two I mentioned are very sad and made me cry. The final two I talked about are hilarious.

The movie is rated PG-13 for some thematic material by the MPAA. I rate it PG-13 for complex content, foul language, some brief romance, smoking, drinking and implied violence. However I was not allowed to see one short scene in the film about miscarriage so I cannot completely comment on the rating or the movie. Also I do not know all about the Civil Rights movement to comment on how well it presents history and if it is glorified or not.

I think this film is excellent. The actors are great. The direction is superb. The story is emotional. And the movie is a must see. I look forward to one day reading the book the movie is based on because people have said it is one of the best books ever. This is one of my Top 5 favorite movies of the year. People should see it because it will entertain them and teach them a good lesson at the same time.

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