Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Help

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

Written for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor

Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett

Release Date: August 10th, 2011

In 1960s Mississippi, the maids working for Jackson wives deal with persecution and bigotry while on the job and underpaid. Maids like Minny and Aibileen care for their children and make their food as these same women call them names and demean them at the weekly bridge club. Soon, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Stone) is looking to make  her mark as a writer and stumbles upon a startling discovery: write a tell-all book about life as an African-American maid for white families in the South. It will take a lot of courage and strength to stand up for what's right, and it may take everything to stand up to people like Miss Hilly Holbrook (Howard)...

Adapted from the novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a deep and profound look back into race relations in  the 1960s. Tate Taylor does a commanding job of making such a stellar best-seller into one of the best films of 2011. He does a great job of balancing several stories at once, making them flow into each other easily and tie into the main plot of Skeeter publishing her book. Speaking of, the cast is full of great performances from the mainly female cast, with the main standouts being Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. As Emma Stone's character begins  the events of the story, Davis and Spencer are largely the focus of all important events. Davis is certainly a powerhouse actress, seen in such films as State of Play and Doubt, certainly deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award this year, as her performance as Abilene is a strong women who carries a sense of compassion within her despite a sea of hatred around her. Octavia Spencer, as Minnie, gives a hilarious performance with a lot of snappy dialogue when Minny goes to work Celia Foote, as played by Jessica Chastian.

While the film is unsettling in its depiction of race relations, it is certainly a recommended drama that fans of the novel will certainly enjoy.

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

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