You know a movie is very good when it manages to leave you both hating and having hope in your own kind. The Help tugged on quite a few heartstrings and had me looking for tissues on more than one occasion. With the combination of a powerful script and brilliant actresses and actors this movie has easily found it’s place among one of my favorite films of this year.
Adapted from the 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help takes place in the early 1960’s of Jackson, Mississippi with the story focusing on two black house maids, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Clark (Octavia Spencer), as well as a young white woman named Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone).
Set during the harsh times of the Civil Rights era it tells the story of how the three work together to write was to be a controversial book that recounted true tales of the life of black house maids. Woven into this is each of their own story lines that explore just a portion of what life was back then. You see the steps they take, the risks and threats that haunt them and observe each journey they take together. It provides a glimpse of how appalling a person can be to another for one minute only to gain faith once more when you see another character shows kindness and civility the next.
What truly drags you into the story is the strong acting ability of the cast. It is one thing for me to love the main characters, to feel sympathy and even shed tears for them. The characters that are on the opposite side of the spectrum, such as Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), are the ones that can make or break a story, no matter how strong the remainder of the cast is. And Howard pulls off a stunning performance. She played a character that just made you want to hate her which goes to show how well she can perform.
Emotions are tested in this movie. The story is well constructed, the relationships strong and, more importantly, believable, all in which are wrapped up in an ending that is both heart breaking yet hopeful at the same time. Now the movie has been out in theaters for a few weeks now and it has stayed at the top of the box office. If you haven’t seen it already try to change that as soon as you can. This is a drama that everyone who is a fan of the genre should see at least once.