Monday, August 15, 2011

The Help

Driving Miss Daisy has been one of my favorite movies about racial relations in the South for a long time, but I believe it has now been surpassed by leagues by The Help. The Help is about a young white graduate of Ole Miss who, trying to make a name for herself as a writer, decides to put together a book of stories about life as an African American working for white people. She slowly befriends two black maids and begins to uncover the other side to life in the deep south in the 1960s.

Although at first I thought the movie was going to be about the writer, Skeeter (not Rita), the film is narrated at the beginning and end by Aibileen, the maid helping her with the stories. The story of the movie is usurped by the two wonderfully strong characters of Aibileen (Viola Davis) and her best friend Minny (Octavia Spencer). The performances given by these two actresses are out-of-this-world amazing. I really forgot they were actually actors. They offer a picture of black womanhood in the south which salutes the strength, intelligence, and courage expressed by these participants in American history.

The audience experiencing this picture is taken on a pleasurable roller-coaster ride of emotions. As my friend pointed out, she felt the range of human emotions without getting sick to her stomach. There are some points during this movie when the audience was practically on the floor laughing - I had stitches in my side when I walked out (Sissy Spacek has a small but HILARIOUS part in this picture). But there were also many times when I was as nervous, suspicious, or afraid as any of the characters in the movie. And I can tell you there wasn't a dry eye in house when the film ended. On the whole, the movie was a feel-good film. There's also such a deep sense of credibility in this film which really captures the reality of southern life in the 1960s. Like Driving Miss Daisy, the director was able to translate the flavor of the south onto the screen.

The Help is a beautiful movie on every level. The cinematography, music, script, wardrobe, and casting departments put together one of the best films I've seen this summer. I STRONGLY recommend that one go see this movie in cinemas. Although there may be one or two scenes which are not appropriate for young children, I would also encourage you to take along as many young people as are appropriate because it is essential that the young people of America come to understand the true situation of race relations in the 1960s, and there's no better way than through film to get this point across.

No comments:

Post a Comment