The Help (2011)

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel of the same title, The Help is a frame story about black maids working in Jackson Mississippi’s elite homes during the Jim Crow era. Emma Stone plays a reporter trying to work her way up in a town unfamiliar to her after graduating college. She finds an opportunity to begin covering the story of the two maids, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. Her goal is to help them write a memoir – the frame for the book from which this film was taken – and expose the histories of these women as it pertains to their lives and the lives of Jackson’s upper class.

I enjoyed this film mainly because it matched my expectations. The marketing of it, along with the vast popularity of the novel, made this a silver screen drama with an obvious celluloid finish. Did it take chances and make some comments about the era and even today’s struggles with race in America? Yes, but they were safe ones. Were the performances stellar? Absolutely, but the script could have been a lot stronger and given the incredible ensemble a lot more to work with rather than mirroring some tired Hollywood sentimentality.

Still, a great film that I enjoyed my time with assuming your expectations matched mine.

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