The movie The Help is based on the book of the same name (which I’ve never read even though I own it). Only thing I really knew about it was the basic information that it is a book written from the point-of-view of Black women who were maids in the 1950s and 60s. And I knew it was written by a white woman. That is all I walked in with. And I’m kinda glad, because it gave me very few expectations going in.
Before I go on, don’t worry. I won’t be placing any spoilers here. That’s because when people do that, I want to kick them in the shins. And I value my shins. Everything I mention will pretty much be vague plot points.
The film is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Racial tension is high, and at the core of everything going on in this town. The Black women who are maids in that town, not only clean the houses of their bosses, but they practically raise their children. Yet, they’re only seen as “HELP” and treated poorly and accordingly. One young woman in the town (Skeeter) gets the idea to write the stories of these women, because of her positive experience with the black woman who helped raise her.
I must say that I really liked “The Help.” It even had my eye allergies acting up a coupla times. My thug wading in the water while watching some of the scenes.
What was so good about this film? Wells, for starters, the acting was superb. Viola Davis is amazeballs. She played a maid named Aibilene, who was one of the central characters. And then Octavia Spencer played Minnie, her BFF, who is also a maid. They’re polar opposites personality-wise, with Aibilene’s quite confidence and Minnie’s feistiness. Minnie’s ALL sass and Aibilene is calm but very grounded. They work for different families but have similar struggles.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer on screen together was so natural. I could see them actually being BFFs and having those very convos. At least one of them needs to be nominated for something cuz… YES LAWD!!! Kudos to them both.
Emma Stone, who played Skeeter, was also dope. I don’t remember her in other films but she slayed this role. It also helped that her big blue doe eyes made her look adorabo, which kind of worked with this character, who had a bit of naivete, to allow her to e’em try what she did.
AND… you know who else is in this movie???? My she-ro. The Matron Saint of Downtrodden Heroines Who Come Out On Top. YOU KNOW WHO!!! The one and only, Mother of All, CICELY TYSON!
Chile listen… the moment I saw Cicely on that screen, I wanted to do a jig. I LOVE CICELY! Not ONE person on this EARF plays downtrodden but still prideful and regal like her. NOT ONE! YESSSSS!!! She played Constantine, the maid who raised Skeeter. And of course she was EVERYTHING! And dropped dimed of wisdoms like only she can.
Sidenote: Does Cicely Tyson e’em have to audition for these types of roles? SHE BET NOT HAVE TO! Folks need to write scripts and just insert “Cicely Tyson” on any role that needs to be old and wise. Shoo… she’s earned it. That woman has been acting since the first wheel was invented. SHE IS LEGEND! #PayAmish
Ennehweighs, where was I?
Ah yes, the acting was dope. The supporting characters were also really interesting.
On top of all of that, I found the story to be empowering, because it served as a hat tip to the women who worked day (and sometimes night) in these homes, serving as second mothers, nurses, seamstresses, cobblers, cooks… and everything else. I thought it was positive in its portrayal of these women. They weren’t just mammys, but people who made real impact in the lives of those they helped raise.
Plus, it was surprisingly funny. Octavia Spencer’s character was hilarious without even trying to be at times. She brought some comic relief to this film, especially with a running thing that involved a pie (no, not pie in the face. You gotta see it to know what I’m talmbout). I’m glad they added a bit of humor to the movie because it lightened it up when needed, and kept it from feeling really depressing.
Was it a perfect movie? Probably not. But for 2.5 hours, I gave a damb about what I was watching on screen and the lives of those characters. This says a lot, for someone who can lack an attention span, like me.
OH YES! I also loved the costumes. Man, I love the way folks dressed in the 60s. The costumes were like “Mad Men” with a little bit more color. The women in the A-line dresses… the men with the fitted suits and skinny ties. YESSS!!!
Anywho, I’m looking forward to reading the book now, and seeing how true the movie was to it.
“The Help” opens in theaters on August 10th. Are y’all gonna go see it? Have you read the book? Didja like it? Tell a G!
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