The Help. Set in the early stages of the Civil Rights movement, this movie follows a young aspiring journalist as she begins to document the stories of the hired help, who have many interesting/funny/often sad stories to share.
Emma Stone is convincing as “Skeeter” Phelan, who wants to write something earth-shattering and finds inspiration in the maids who live in her small Mississippi town. She grew up loving her maid, who was more of a mother than her mother was, and so she instantly bonds with other women in town and begins to find out some horrible and some awe-inspiring tales. She doesn’t stretch herself too much in this role, as she’s often been cast as the sassy and witty bookworm type. As the story progresses though, her emotions shine through and she truly sells a few of they key emotional moments of the film.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer star in the two lead maids who really steal the show. This is their story. Viola is the quiet and subservient Aibileen, while Octavia plays the sassy and often ruckus-causing Minny. They’re a dynamic duo together with natural chemistry. They both make the roles their own completely.
Other notables include Bryce Dallas Howard as the epitome of everything wrong with society back then and Allison Janney as Emma Stone’s mother who is struggling with cancer. The supporting cast is incredible and all help to make this movie truly shine.
This movie has heart. There are other films with louder explosions and more laughs, but this movie truly captures an era that we wish we could rewrite… but endows it with a sense of hope and victory over what seemed to be impossible odds. I bawled like a baby towards the end but I wouldn’t change a thing. The payoffs are worth the wait.
In a summer of blockbusters, reboots, and sequels, this movie might fly under the radar. But take note. If you want a film that will have you smiling and thinking and loving every minute of it… give The Help a chance.