The Help

Jackson Mississippi in the 1960’s, hotbed for Jim Crow laws, segregation, and racist sentiment; but also the origin of an odd partnership and friendship between a young aspiring writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), and several women working as hired help, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer). When Skeeter gets the idea to write about the experiences of hired help she’s met with strong resistance. Her goal is to write their stories, through their own eyes, sharing the good and the bad and just how wicked some employers can be while others are simply wonderful. Finally, after much persistence, a book begins to take form, only when it’s finally published do the real fireworks begin. Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), ringleader of the white women in town and subject of several of the unbecoming stories launches on a tear, but will it do any good, what of these new friendships, and what of Skeeter’s career? An actors’ film from start to finish, the cast featured here makes up for deficiencies the screenplay gives us with stereotypes and broad generalizations. In fact, I smell award nominations for several of the players here based on their genuine delivery and ability to connect with each other on screen. Comedic timing, dashed with looks that could kill, turned with moments that can break your heart, the end result is sure to leave audiences satisfied. Albeit, the film does run long at 137 minutes and it’s hard to say what could be cut, but, I wish the film could have been capped at an even two hours. Still, fun and worthy for fans of the book and the occasional daring boyfriend. The Help is rated PG-13.