helpThe Help is delightful. That is hard to say in light of the subject matter.

The Help is delightful. That is hard to say in light of the subject matter. Mississippi in the early 60’s was anything but delightful. The things that happened there will forever be a shameful mark on our country and white society. It was a travesty. So to experience a film that shows a handful of women who overcome great odds to rise above the ignorance of others is in fact delightful. And we can throw in moving, emotional, and heart stirring as well.

Based on the best selling book by Kathryn Stockett and adapted for the screen by director Tate Taylor, THE HELP takes a fictional look at what people can do when they unite their minds to a cause. Skeeter (Emma Stone) is a young white girl fresh out of college who is fed up with how polite society is treating their maids. She longs to be a writer and so decides to pen a book from the perspective of the help, to see how they feel about working for the white families. In Jackson Mississippi. In the 60’s! When she strikes up an unheard of friendship with two of the black maids, Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer), they find themselves at war against the ladies of Jackson; led by Miss Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard).

The acting in this film is what sets it apart and makes it sing. Each character pops vividly from the screen and captures an essence of the south and the novel; whether it is Skeeter’s determination to break the mold, or Minny’s incorrigible sassiness. These ladies are faced with so much adversity but to watch them face it with faith, love and hope is infectious. There is a lot of sincere humor in this film too which helps gives it heart and soul. To those who have read the book I would say this. Movies are never as good as the written word. That is obvious. But this one still goes to great lengths to bring the nuances of each character so that the reasons we loved them in the book make them just as endearing on screen.


There are so many messages in this movie but the main one, according to director Tate Taylor is, “the women in this film are not victims. They are victims of circumstances beyond their control. In the 60’s there were only a couple of things that women of color could do to earn money. But outside of that job they were powerful people in their own way. I hope that people take away in modern day, that if you feel victimized or victims of a circumstance take a look and see. You might be able to change your outlook on that or change your position. I want people to be empowered by the film.”

The Help is rated PG-13 for thematic material. There are also mild expletives sprinkled through out. Plus the characters face some horrible tragedies. Like the book the film deals with adult issues and isn’t made for kids. So even if it is safe for those 13 and over it isn’t intended for them. I give it 4.5 out of 5 cans of Crisco. Superb acting and a decent adaptation make this one that will be watched time and time again. It is a perfect date night for you and your spouse or one last mother/daughter outing before she heads back to college. If you haven’t read the book be prepared to rush out afterwards and buy it. You will definitely want more of these characters.

Matt Mungle


Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.