The Help (2011)





Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Lowell, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel, Sissy Spacek, Anna Camp, Brian Kerwin, Aunjanue Ellis, Ted Welch, LaChanze, Mary Steenburgen, Leslie Jordan, Nelsan Ellis, We Chatham, Tiffany Brouwer, Kelsey Scott, David Oyelowo, Dana Ivey, Ashley Johnson


In Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960's, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) has just graduated and returns home. When she arrives home and finds that her nanny and family's maid Constantine (Cicely Lowell) has been sent away by her mother (Allison Janney), she decides to write a book about the black women who have spent their lives taking care of Southern families, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. The first to open up will be Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis), followed by many other. 


Once in a blue moon there's an interesting film on TV. That happened to be last night, and while I'm still trying to decide if I want to read the novel or not, I couldn't miss the chance to watch this film for the millionth time. So here I am, writing about The Help, a beautiful, realistic, touching and delicate drama of hope, friendship and ugliness that grows up from the inside that will have you laughing one moment, and crying the next.

Actor, director and writer Tate Taylor wrote and the screen adaptation and directed this film wonderfully. Simply and passionately narrated, the film has the right amount of humour, balanced with very emotional - not mushy - moments.

This is a story of Afro-Americans, of racial segregation, of wickedness, of social exclusion for those similar but different. It's a story of courage that teaches to never give up.

The character development is outstanding. It's amazing how even the less important character feel important. Let's take Skeeter's lover, he has such a tiny screen time, yet he evokes some emotions in you. Or the newspaper editor, he has a few scenes, but it's the male character you are more likely to remember. The dialogue is brilliant, and is perfect for each character.

The acting is top-notch. Emma Stone nails Skeeter. Aesthetically different - some may say uglier -, she gives a great portrayal of a woman divided between two worlds. Also she deserves credits for playing a less attractive role because that really requires some guts. Viola Davis is so powerful throughout the film, and keeps her Aibileen very authentic and realistic. Octavia Spencer is the woman here. She is superb, and with her portrayal of Minni she does show how struggling and frustrating is the life of a waitress. Among a great supporting cast, Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard stand out.


Aibileen Clark: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Constantine: What you doin' hiding out here, girl?
Skeeter: I just couldn't tell mama I didn't get invited to the dance.
Constantine: That's all right. Some things we just got to keep to ourselves.
Skeeter: The boys say I'm ugly. Mama was the third runner-up in the Miss South Carolina pageant...
Constantine: Now you quit feeling sorry for yourself. Now that's ugly. Ugly is something that grows up from inside you. It's mean and hurtful, like them boys. Now you not one of them, is you? I didn't think so, honey. Every day you're not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you're gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: "Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?" You hear me? "Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today? You hear me today?" All right? As for your mama, she didn't pick her life. It picked her. But you, you're gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see.


  1. I really liked this movie when I first saw it, but not as much now. It is excellently performed by the cast, though. For me, the best performance is the most overlooked one in the film, that of Bryce Dallas Howard.

  2. A great novel as well. Read the book pronto. :D

  3. This is one of the rare cases where a movie and a book are pretty even in terms of how good they are.