December 15, 2011

The Help



I didn't get to read the book but I've had several recommendations about The Help from friends and people I work with so I got the dvd from the nearest Redbox. I have to say, I do like Emma Stone and Viola Davis is a good actress specially in this film.

The Help is an ensemble drama set during the civil rights movement in Alabama during the 60's. It features the unlikely friendship between a privileged white young woman named Skeeter (Emma Stone) with Aibeleen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer), black maids of her bridge club friends, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Elizabeth (Ahna O'Reilly). Aibeleen has spent most of her life caring for children of white families while Minny is constantly getting into trouble for her sassy mouth but is much valued because of her cooking skills.

Skeeter comes back home from college and finds out that Constantine (Cicely Tyson), their black maid who practically raised her, is gone and has moved to Chicago without her being informed of it. She also becomes uncomfortable with the attitude of her privileged friends toward their black maids. In fact, her friend Hilly Holbrook comes up with the "Home Help Sanitation Initiative" which is a bill that promotes separate bathrooms for the black help, as she surmises that "they carry diseases different from us". With this, Skeeter decides to write a book from the point of view of the help in collaboration with Aibeleen and Minny. A peripheral plot involves Celia Foote (the wonderful Jessica Chastain) who marries Hilly's former boyfriend Johnny. Hilly regards her as "white trash" so the bridge club treats her as a social outcast and is excluded from all their activities. Celia eventually hires Minny to work for her after Hilly fires her. These two outsiders are then placed in a situation where they spend much time with each other. As the film goes along, Celia proves to be a very considerate and understanding employer who longs for companionship and finds it in Minny.

It's a poignant story of unexpected friendship and of characters that surprises you with the amount of kindness they possess. Go see it and be touched!

(For theatre fans out there, also keep an eye out for LaChanze in this movie)

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