Saturday, August 20, 2011

Movie Night: The Help #TheHelpMovie @helpmovie

Kathryn Stockett's first novel The Help is already a bestseller.  I read it last year and loved it...  The Help is the story of African-American maids working in the households of white women in Jackson, Mississippi during the volatile 1960s.  It's also the story of one of the white women, Skeeter, who isn't your typical Southern belle and who was essentially raised by her maid, Constantine.

It's a heartbreaking, emotional book, but also one that will make you laugh!  So when I heard they were making it into a movie, I was torn... would they ruin it?

Happily, they did NOT!  I went to see the movie last night with my girlfriends, and we all laughed and cried.

The cast was PERFECT.  Viola Davis as the steadfast, patient Aibileen, my beloved Emma Stone as Skeeter, and the INCOMPARABLE Octavia Spencer as Minnie were awesome.  Also, Bryce Dallas Howard was perfect as the evil Hilly, and she played it perfectly.  With this cast, you felt like Kathryn Stockett got to pick her exact 'dream team' of actresses for the film adaptation; these roles were written for them.  It had to help that the director is a childhood friend of Stockett; she was there every step of the way.

It's definitely a movie worth seeing, but I highly recommend you read the book first.  I really am of that camp that says the book is (almost!) always better than the movie, so pick up a copy before you head to the theater.


  1. The Help, both the book and the movie, has some issues, particularly with racist stereotypes. This post on Bitch Media's site has links to responses that analyze the racist overtones. For these reasons and the fact that Stockett is being sued by the woman she modeled Aibilene on, I've given both the book and the movie a skip.

  2. The case was thrown out due to statute of limitations, but in any case I felt like the racist stereotypes were not much different from previous white authors writing works of fiction featuring black characters... think Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, etc. It's not without controversy, but I see it as literature and have seen much more egregious offenses of racism in other works. This is a beautiful story, like Fried Green Tomatoes was. It also could prove educational for younger people who don't know what it was like during Jim Crow/segregation, and the timing/setting bring in an awareness of the time period like Forrest Gump subtly did.

    That said, the actresses who played the maids really felt connections to the roles, and they are black women who are known to be strong and with great reputations. I don't think they would have chosen the roles if they felt it was racist.

    On a side note, being in the South, the theater I was definitely about 50/50 black and white, and EVERYONE was rolling in laughter at moments and crying at others. There was something everyone could relate to. Black and white women alike walked out talking about how much they enjoyed the movie, which I think is a good sign the book/film do more good than harm.


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