The Help is a provocative and inspiring look at what happens when a southern town's unspoken code of rules and behaviour is shattered by three courageous women who strike up an unlikely friendship.
As soon as I saw the trailer for this film I knew I would have to see it. It looked like a great film with a fantastic story to tell. I haven't read the book by Kathryn Stockett but I had heard great things about it and the film adaptation so couldn't wait to buy this DVD.
Another reason that I wanted to watch this film was the actress Emma Stone. I had really enjoyed her performance as a smart and funny modern day teenager in one of my favourite films "Easy A" and wanted to see how she would fair playing a more restrained young woman from the 1960s. I had no need to worry though: as part of a great ensemble cast, Emma Stone perfectly embodied a young woman trying to understand the world around her and her place in it.
All of the main cast members were exceptional from the quiet dignity of Viola Davis as Aibileen the Narrator of the story to the barely contained rage of Octavia Spencer as Minny. One of my favourite relationships in the film was that of Minny and her new employer Celia (Jessica Chastain), herself an outcast in the town. After initially finding herself in the unique position of having to educate her new boss on how to treat a coloured servant, Minny eventually finds real friendship and a place she can relax and be herself.
Although she is essentially playing the villain of the film, I really enjoyed Bryce Dallas Howard's performance as Miss Hilly Holbrook. I think she managed to make this flawed character into a three dimensional, living woman who really could not see or understand that the way she was behaving was wrong. This was a difficult role to play and Bryce Dallas Howard managed it beautifully.
This is a thought provoking and emotional film. It is also very funny and the laughter helps to lighten what could have been a very dark story. At 140 minutes I did think it might be a little too long but the time flew past as I was immersed in the lives of this complicated, wonderful group of women.
I was, however, a little disappointed with the Extras offered on the DVD. The back of the DVD mentions "compelling, never-before-seen bonus features". What we get is two deleted scenes and a music video. These are not "compelling" bonus features. I would have loved to see a "Making Of" documentary or a brief feature about the book and/or the real-life stories that inspired it. Both of these are, I understand, available on the Blu-ray of this film.
In summary, if you are looking for compelling Bonus Features then this DVD is not for you (buy the Blu-ray instead) but if you are looking for a compelling, thought provoking, funny film that will entertain and inform you then I cannot recommend this film highly enough.
The Help has been superbly adapted for the screen. All the main characters are well cast with Skeeter, Celia and Minny being exceptional. Skeeter is searching for understanding of how her mother was content to allow her own maid, Constantine, to bring her up through childhood, but appeared remote and unconcerned when Constantine mysteriously leaves the household during Skeeters time at University. Skeeter questions her childhood friendships through the eyes of an educated woman who is in persuit of more than a marriage of financial convenience and discovers a world of hypocrisy and indifference to the circumstances of others living within thier own households.
Aibeline and Minny are old friends, who have quite different ways of dealing with the challenges of servitude, with the former being more quietly hostile and the latter being unable to hide her resentment. Minny does give as good as she gets through the use of her infamous chocolate pie but it is her steadfast loyality and ability to understand the motives of others that is brought perfectly into focus by the performance of Octavia Spencer who is well deserved of the nominations she has recieved for best supporting actress. This is especially so when she works as the maid to the unsophisticated Celia Foote played by Jessica Chastaine, and is endeered to her vulnerability regardless of her previous experiences at the hands of former white mistresses.
Without giving away too much of the plot, though the courage of Aibileen, the maids do become empowered by Skeeters determined ambition to tell their story. The Help is a feel good film with some delicious moments of humour and poignancy in equal measure. It does justice to the excellent novel by Kate Stockett and I recommend it to anyone who really enjoys a riveting story.
We will publish your review of The Help on DVD within a few days as long as it meets our guidelines.
None of your personal details will be passed on to any other third party.
A 1960s-era Mississippi debutante sends her community into an uproar by conducting a series of probing interviews with the black servants behind some of her community's most prominent families. Skeeter (Emma Stone) has just graduated from college, and she's eager to launch her career as a writer. In a moment of inspiration, Skeeter decides to focus her attention on the black female servants who work in her community. Her first subject is Aibileen (Viola Davis), the devoted housekeeper who has been employed by Skeeter's best friend's family for years. By speaking with Aibileen, Skeeter becomes an object of scorn to the wealthy locals, who view her actions as directly challenging to the established social order. Before long, even more servants are coming forward to tell their stories, and Skeeter discovers that friendship can blossom under the most unlikely of circumstances. Bryce Dallas Howard co-stars in a touching tale of race relations based on author Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel of the same name.
Drama set against the backdrop of the 1960s American civil rights movement, based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett. It is 1964 and racism is rife in Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter (Emma Stone), the strong-willed daughter of a well-to-do family, returns to the town from college to take up a role at the local newspaper. However, working as a 'homemaker hints' columnist in the paper is by no means the extent of Skeeter's ambitions. Disturbed by the negative attitude of her friend, Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), towards her house staff, Skeeter decides to write a book chronicling the experiences of the black maids who have spent much of their lives serving her and her contemporaries. Initially, the maids seem reluctant and suspicious. However, when the much-respected Aibileen (Viola Davis) comes forward to offer her story, the floodgates open and the women take the opportunity to make themselves heard. Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Aibileen's friend, Minny Jackson, an outspoken maid who finds it difficult to get work after being fired and eventually decides to share her experiences with Skeeter.