Saturday 10 March 2012

Today's Review: The Help

The Help is a drama based in civil rights era America. Skeeter (Emma Stone), a girl who has just graduated college and returned home to become a journalist, is horrified to discover that the maid who pretty much raised her has left the family household, and that her former school friends have all settled down, had children, and hired their own black maids to do all the menial chores that are beneath them, including looking after their own children. The most notably racist of the women of the town is Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is attempting to build separate outdoors bathrooms for the help so that their "diseases" can't be spread to the decent white folk. Skeeter is horrified by the treatment of the black women, so decides to write a book filled with testimonials from the maids, and after some reluctance, two women named Aibileen and Minny (Viola Davis and Olivia Spencer) agree to contribute.

The Help is a great movie. I could pretty much tell it would be from the trailers alone, seeing as I have a soft spot for historical dramas these days. Still, it could have disappointed me, and it did not. Every performance is outstanding. Davis and Spencer shine as the oppressed ladies trying to get their side of the story heard, and Dallas Howard absolutely drips with evil, she makes me want to punch her in the face even though she's a girl. There are some really deep moments throughout this movie, it hits quite hard, especially as you realise that not more than 50 years ago this kind of thing was common place. There are some great comedic and inspirational moments throughout too, so The Help is kind of a rollercoaster ride. There's a great story running through the movie concerning a chocolate pie, and a very touching side plot involving Minny's new employer after she falls out with Hilly.

I can't find much fault with The Help. It's easy to see why it got a best picture nod at the Oscars. Despite it being almost two and a half hours long I really got absorbed, and it held my interest to the end. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to punch evil girls in the face.

My rating: 5/5

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