My oldest daughter (age eleven) and I saw an advance movie screening of The Help (Dreamworks) last week. The film is based on Katheryn Stockett’s novel with the same name. I can’t tell you how well the film follows the book because I have not read it yet. I know, shame on me. The book is on my reading list; I just have not had the time to read it. I can tell you the movie adaptation is excellent. Even though it’s a drama, the film will make you laugh. And it will also make some of you cry as well (not me, I’m too manly and I have no tear ducts). Bottom line: the movie is slow, but emotional. I love the movie and I think most people will like it too. Judging from the turnout at the screening, The Help seems to appeal more to women than men. 80%-90% of the audience were women, but I think men will like the film too. The Help will open in theaters next Wednesday (August 10th).
Change begins with a whisper
The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960’s. Most of the movie revolves around three characters: Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. The movie starts off with Skeeter returning from college. She wants to be a writer and gets a job as a columnist writing about house cleaning. Skeeter doesn’t know anything about cleaning, so she asks for help from her friend’s housekeeper, Aibileen. While Skeeter hangs out with her childhood friends, she notices that “the help” are treated poorly and unfairly. That’s when she comes up with the idea to write a book about the help from their point of view. At first, no one wants to open up because they know they will get in serious trouble if they take part in the book. Eventually, Aibileen agrees to secretly share her story. Then Minny, a sassy maid, also agrees to share her feelings. Finally, after someone is killed, the other housekeepers decide to tell their stories as well.
Best picture of the year
I usually prefer action and sci-fi films over drama, but The Help is the best movie I’ve seen this year. The studios usually save their best films for the end of the year, but The Help should get nominated for best picture. It would be a shame if it didn’t.
Best supporting actress
The cast was outstanding in The Help. Emma Stone (Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan — main character), Viola Davis (Aibileen Clark — maid), Octavia Spencer (Minny Jackson — maid), Bryce Dallas Howard (Hilly Holbrook — bitch), and Jessica Chastain (Celia Foote — outcast) all delivered excellent performances. In my opinion, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain stood out the most in the film. It would not surprise me if Octavia Spencer was nominated for best supporting actress for her role as Minny. The Help also features Ahna O’Reilly (Elizabeth Leefolt — Skeeter’s friend), Allison Janney (Charlotte Phelan — Skeeter’s mom), Sissy Spacek (Missus Walters — the bitch’s mother), Anna Camp (Jolene French — Skeeter’s friend), Chris Lowell (Stuart Whitworth — Skeeter’s boyfriend), Mary Steenburgen (Elain Stein — book editor), Leslie Jordan (Mr. Blackly — Skeeter’s boss), Cicely Tyson (Constantine Jefferson — Skeeter’s maid), Mike Vogel (Johnny Foote — the outcast’s husband), Brian Kerwin (Robert Phelan — Skeeter’s dad), Wes Chatham (Carlton Phelan — Skeeter’s brother), and Aunjanue Ellis (Yule Mae Davis — maid). The film was directed by Tate Taylor.
Rated PG-13 for subject matter
From what I can recall, the film did not contain bad language (except for damn and shit, which were used several times), sexual content, or violent scenes. However, some of the scenes were intense and violence was implied. The PG-13 rating is most likely for the subject matter (racism and exploitation). Some children might not understand the material.
Pee during date night
The movie is 137 minutes long. If you have to go the restroom, I would suggest going when Skeeter goes on her dates. She has a blind date, and then a solo date. The dates reveal more info about Skeeter, but you can see what she’s like even without the date scenes. I couldn’t see my watch in the dark, but I think the dates are around the one hour mark.
See the 3D version
Oh wait, there isn’t a 3D version. Never mind.