The Help (2011)

After watching The Help, I came to the conclusion that it was probably the first movie I’ve seen this year that I have confidence will be nominated for acting awards at the Oscars.  It is December.  You would have thought that there would have been at least one or two that instantly popped into my mind that were worthy of that kind of acclaim, but apparently I’ve been watching nothing but terrible movies.  Tate Taylor (who last appeared in the excellent Winter’s Bone) directed the movie, based off of the book written by his childhood friend Kathryn Stockett.

The film takes place in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s, and apparently Ole Miss didn’t get the memo about racism being wrong at the time.  Skeeter (Emma Stone) decides to write a book from the perspective of the coloured women that were hired as the help for white families.  In 60s era Jackson, this was not A Good Thing to do, so she takes to interviewing her main subjects Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) in secret while they all deal with the racial injustices surrounding them.

Make no mistake about it, The Help is designed to be emotionally impacting with many manipulative elements tweaked to make you choke up a little or have your eyes water.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and the story is fairly predictable, but it’s still a good movie.  I was trying to approach it through a snarky eye, but the charm of the movie won me over (and casting Emma Stone in it certainly helped that).  Its summertime release is slightly perplexing, as this is clearly a movie worthy of Oscar noms.  The performances of Davis and Spencer in particular will most likely be recognised come Oscar nomination season.

It’s a very good movie, and it still blows my mind that the events depicted in it – while not entirely based off of historical fact – were still taking place in the US of A barely 50 years ago.  Way to grow up, America.

4 / 5

About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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