Monday, 5 September 2011

Film Review: "The Help" (2011).




"God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me."
This is at the heart of The Help. This period drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. The film is about a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, during the Civil Rights era in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a book from the point of view of the maids (referred to as "the help"), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.

In December 2009, Variety reported that Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, and Mark Radcliffe would produce a film adaptation of The Help, under their production company 1492 Pictures. Tate Taylor, who optioned film rights to the book before its publication, was chosen to write and direct the film. The first casting news for the production came in March 2010, was reported that Stone was attached to play the role of Skeeter Phelan. Other actors were since cast, including Davis as Aibileen; Howard as Hilly Holbrook, Janney as Charlotte Phelan and Lowell as Stuart Whitworth. Mike Vogel plays the character Johnny Foote. Octavia Spencer portrays Minny. Filming began in July 2010 and extended through October. The town of Greenwood, Mississippi, was chosen to portray 1960s-era Jackson.

The film stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Mike Vogel, Cicely Tyson, LaChanze, Allison Janney, Mary Steenburgen, and Anna Camp. The cast gave brilliant performances. Vividly portraying the cruelty of white people, with the exception of a few, and the struggle and oppression of African-Americans. Kudos to Davis, Stone, Howard, Spencer and Chastain (the latter two especially). Spencer gave one of the most amazing performances in movie history. As well as for Chastain, for her second major film. These two stars are showing promising futures. Both Oscar-worthy performances for sure.

The Help is a sentimental tale that reveals great emotional truths in American history. It is triumphantly emotional and brave. The film is a plea for respect for African-Americans. It is an incredibly strong stand against the way white people treat African-Americans. It is an excellent film, and it is an attempt to deal with an issue that had been overlooked, and it wouldn't have been done if it hadn't been for Tate Taylor. And it's not like everyone says, that he ruined the book. That's absolutely not the case. Nobody was going to do the book. He made the book live again.

Simon says The Help receives:


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