The Help

The Help

In Theatres: 
Aug 10, 2011

 The Help is uplifting, at times painful, and most of the time feels like a battle won, even when the characters who deserve the biggest break get anything but.

The trailer says everything that needs to be said for a synopsis: small-town girl Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) living in Jim Crow-era Mississippi wants to embark on a secret-by-necessity writing project to tell the stories and perspectives of the working-class black women raising the white children of the town. Meanwhile, her married college girlfriends and her comically overzealous mother (Allison Janney, who impresses me in every role I see her in) are more concerned with finding Skeeter a husband than they are with her budding journalism career. Hey, it was the 60s. The socio-political climate doesn't afford Skeeter, or anyone who isn't racist, a voice to help out those being oppressed, so she does it with her best weapon: her writing. I'm hopeful that Emma Stone will get the recognition that she deserves; The Help showed that she's got quite the range as an actress.

Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), the queen bee of the group, drafts a law requiring the black help to have their own bathroom. This is just one of the many heinous things she does throughout the movie, aside from being a general manipulative bully. There's a scene involving pie that will rectify all of the nasty things she does to the audience that just might be worth the price of admission alone. Viola Davis as Aibileen Clarke is flawless. Has Viola Davis won an Oscar yet? She should. Maybe not for this role (the film has too much of a fluffy feel to qualify for an Oscar nomination), but for something she does in the future. I know with work like this, the right role will come her way. Same goes for Octavia Spencer. She's one of those actresses whose face people recognize, but soon people will put a name to that face.

If you need a quick boost in your faith in humanity, The Help is a good start.

Review by Patty Miranda