Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Help

Genre: Drama

Question:  Do you feel stuck or made to feel like your life can't get better? You think if you even try to and improve your life you will just be beaten down and told "NO, you aren't allowed to do that", right?  Everyone should have one thing in this world that allows them to feel there is a chance at change. It's called hope - a powerful emotion. And once you have hope change can begin. Well, the movie, The Help, showed that if you have the courage to share your story, no matter how scared you are, or oppressed, you will eventually be free and happy. As the tagline goes, "Change begins with a whisper."

In The Help the women of Jackson, Mississippi, specifically the black women, can't pursue their dreams; actually they can't pursue anything due to the racism that was so prevalent in this country in the early 60's in the South. I will tell you not many things make me angry but racism disturbs me so that this movie was particularly hard for me to watch without getting overly emotional. (I really need to carry around more tissues.) The movie represented the harsh reality these women faced on a daily basis by society. There were parts that were light in nature but as soon as you let your guard down the story smacked you with another blow. It was an emotional roller coaster for me.

The story starts with Aibileen (played brilliantly by Viola Davis), a black maid, working for a white family. She basically does everything for them: the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking and raising their daughter. This type of job is something she has always done - since she was a teenager. She had no choice. Her mother was a maid and her grandmother was a house slave. She wasn't allowed to pursue an alternative employment. However, she loves the little girl and knows that her mother can't raise her properly. You will witness as to why.

Then Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan comes home from college. Emma Stone plays Skeeter. She is the only woman in town who isn't married with children and she doesn't mind, much to her mother's dismay. She wants to become a writer (yay!). She returns to witness the rampant racism that seems to plague her town, her friends and family. She is then inspired to write about it - specifically from the maid's point of view(s). However, no one will talk to her about it. They were too afraid.

I don't want to go into too much detail as usual but the women portrayed some of the strongest characters and a couple of the most hideous human beings I have ever seen on film. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer played the two main maids in this story and their performances were stellar. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were both nominated for many awards.

Bryce Dallas Howard was brilliant in this film as Hilly Hollbrook, one of the most racist people in the film. She played it so well that when she came on-screen my heart sank because I knew she would say or do something so hideous - and she usually did. But don't worry - karma takes a hand in this story - a brilliant hand.

Emma Stone (Skeeter) also did a fantastic job as the one who started the wave of change. Through her questions, writing and her own story she allowed the black woman of Jackson to have a voice - something they never had before. Her whisper sparked a revolution.

I have to admit towards the end of the movie the story got a little choppy; and I have feeling the book this movie was based on (by Kathryn Stockett) went in further into detail about the racism, the relationship between these women and the change that took place. Many recommended this book to me last summer but never got around to it. I might just have to read it now.

Have you started your whisper yet? Change can happen.

My favorite thing: The inspiration this movie gave me and to remind me to fight for what I want.

My least favorite thing: Knowing that racism was that bad in this country.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 137 minutes

Review: 8 out of 10

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