Title: The Help
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney and Cicely Tyson
Running time: 146 minutes, Rated PG-13, Available on standard DVD
At the start of the civil rights movement, an aspiring journalist decides write a book filled with a compilation of events as recounted by the maids who work for white families in Jackson Mississippi.
The special features on the Blu-ray include a “making-of” featurette and a tear-jerking featurette “Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi,” and they are important to watch after the film. Author Kathryn Stockett and Director Tate Taylor are childhood friends whose passion project in the story and film are a love letter to their own maids who raised them when they grew up in the south. The love they have for their “2nd Mothers” is evident in their interviews and in the film itself. Octavia Spenser who was Stockett’s inspiration for the character Milly (whom she also portrays in the film) interviews several elderly real life Mississippi maids and how they struggled to raise their own children while they cared for the white children of their employers.
Octavia Spenser was a scene stealer and Viola Davis was phenomenal. The scenes with Abilieen (Davis) and the child Mae Mobley (Emma & Eleanor Henry) were so heartbreaking and sweet. Emma Stone wouldn’t have been my first choice, but did an impeccable performance as Skeeter. Allison Janney, Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard were hilarious and perfectly cast. The Help is not just a chick flick, it’s more of a non-preachy history lesson with a predominantly female cast.
Total Rating: A
Reviewed by: JM Willis