When the credits started rolling, no one in the movie theater moved. It’s as if everyone was in a daze and needed a few moments to collect themselves. They silently wiped tears from their faces and it’s in those moments you realize what an amazing movie you just watched. Certain movies stay with you long after you’ve left the theater and The Help is one of those movies.

The Help

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain

Premise: Based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help focuses on Skeeter (Stone) a southern society gal turned journalist who returns to town and decides to tell a story from the point of view of the help – the black women who have spent generations taking care of and serving prominent white families. As a result, she turns everyone’s lives upside down. She exposes the people she once considered friends and forms unlikely friendships with others she had been taught were subordinate.

My Review: This movie was much more about performance rather than story. It’s a story we’ve all heard before – there’s nothing really new about that. But it’s the performances of Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastin, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Octavia Spencer. That truly makes this movie one of the bests of the year.

First, Emma Stone’s, Skeeter – Watching Stone develop her character into a shy southern girl who wants to be a writer, into a girl observing and experience the injustice who is determined to do what’s right is pretty incredible. Stone has a knack for comedy, no one can deny that, but she is as good of a dramatic actor as she is a comedic one. Her scenes in particular with Allison Janney, who plays her mother, were extremely heartbreaking.

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who played Abileen and Minny respectfully, were extremely powerful. Davis played the silent brooding type. With just one look you can see in Abileen’s eyes the heartbreak, the struggle, the pain, and the years of suffering her character had to endure. Even a simple sigh tells us all we need to know.

Minny, on the other hand, spoke her mind and tried to rebel in other ways. She showed her strength by the way she always spoke the truth. Spencer’s scenes with Jessica Chastin, in particular, were great to watch.  Celia (Chastin) is fragile, ditzy, and flighty, but with a sweet soul. She has been rejected from the social circles for being considered “white trash.” Her kindness and vulnerability with Minny was truly one of the best parts of the film.

Also notable, the villain of the story, Hilly Holbrook, played by a deliciously evil, Bryce Dallas Howard. This character is heinous in every way: in things she does, like hiding from a person she hates, to practically squeezing people until she gets what she wants. However, Howard manages to make her not completely cartoonish. There are little instances throughout the movie where you see bits of humanity in her, though very wrong they may be.

This movie makes you feel. It will make you laugh, it will make you angry, it will make you think, and it will make you cry. And it also contains ironic lines such as “you better hurry up before this whole civil rights thing blows over” that makes you laugh, angry, think and cry all at the same time. It has haunting moments and images that will stay with you long after the movie ends. It’s a story that gives you someone and something to root for. Solid story, fantastic acting, enjoyable movie all around. What more can you ask for?

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

 

Random Thoughts:

  • One look from Cicely Tyson and your heart breaks.
  • Hey that’s Chris Lowell from Veronica Mars and Private Practice!
  • I appreciated the fact that the movie ended on an emotional yet hopefully note, rather than neat and tidy like a Disney movie.

 

 

 

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