Sunday, September 2, 2012

THE HELP

Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard
Jessica Chastain,  Emma Stone, Allison Janney,
Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson

"Change begins with a whisper"

Star Movies





For some reason, this award winning film was not shown in local cinemas. So I marked my calendar when I learned it would be the Sunday night feature on Star Movies.

Based on a best selling novel by Kathryn Stockett, it follows a young woman named Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) who upon her graduation from college returns to her Southern home town. She wants to be a writer/journalist so she takes up a job in the local paper replying to letters sent in for good housekeeping tips.  

She comes up with the idea of publishing a book that chronicles the lives of the African American maids in their community.  But she faces two major obstacles - it is the 1960s (the era when the Civil Rights movement was still at its birthing stage) and it is set in the South where 'colored' people have no rights at all.  There is even a guide book that enumerates the rules governing the minority members of the community.

The film is narrated by Aibileen (Viola Davis) the help of one of Skeeter's haughty friends, Elizabeth Leefolt. She is first 'interviewed' under the pretense of helping Ms Skeeter in her weekly advice giving column for the Jackson Journal. Eventually, Aibileen is persuaded to collaborate and tell her stories about being a black maid for southern families.  Done under the radar and amidst the growing unrest during the Civil Rights movement, soon enough more black maids find their 'voices' by opening up about their fates. Their woeful  tales all valuable contribution in the controversial book.

The bright cinematography set in a typical southern town is a refreshing take on a heavy subject (discrimination). The plot unfolds at a steady pace with various side plots all contributing to the main storyline. Running at 146 minutes long, I believe certain scenes could have been edited out to maintain its flow.

The cast is composed of  young, talented, and dare I say the 'whitest' actresses (Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain)  as the Southern belles. Their portrayals are so convincing you can't help but loathe the 'mean' characters and  cheer for the good ones.

On the other hand, the uniformed and highly structured lives of the maids are given justice by Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis who are remarkable in their very unglamorous roles.  The two actresses are the very heart and soul of this movie.  They truly deserved the Best Actress (Viola Davis) and Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer) awards they reaped at most if not all of the major awards giving shows.

They provided the drama, as well as the humor in this poignant and sometimes gut wrenching tale of deep friendships forged against the backdrop of inequality and grave injustice during the turbulent 60s in the Southern states of the US of A.

2 popcorn buckets:

Duds said...

I love this movie. We're teaching the kid at home to memorize the words: "I am kind, I am smart, I am impoh-tant." :)

Daphn3 LaurA said...

That's a good mantra for a child to memorize! :D

Strong words to live by for everyone not just a kid, I'd say!

 

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