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Review: The Help (2011)

Movies dealing with race can go many ways. Just think of Guess Who? and Remember the Titans. The spectrum is wide, but if you do it properly, movies featuring race relations can be huge (Do the Right Thing, Gone With the Wind).

Welcome to 1960’s America, where segregation is still king. We don’t have slavery anymore, but blacks and whites are treated completely different. Many black women take to becoming maids, or “the help” (see what I did there?). Some our treated more humane than others, but there is no doubt that anyone can ever really understand what they go through in their lifetimes. Of course, all of that doesn’t stop young writer Skeeter (Emma Stone) from trying to interview the help and write down the plight of the people who raise white children, only to work for them when they grow up. Things aren’t easy, as plenty of people try to get in the way of the progress towards equality.

Let me reassure you. While the southern accents used by Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard and the like drive you insane the first few minutes they eventually, either A. get better, or B. fade to the background. Either way, they aren’t as troublesome as I thought they would be. Surprisingly, (like another Emma Stone flick) I though The Help was well done. It was not too sentimental or over dramatic, but struck just the right cords. Octavia Spencer and Chastain bring some much needed comedic relief to the sometimes heavy content. Stone, as we all know can hold her own with any actor, and Viola Davis brings the performance of her career as maid Aibileen Clark who decides to end the silence and tell her story. Fantastic movie all around.

My Rating: A-


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