The extremely heavy issue of racism in the 1960’s had been taken to a lighter level in the new film The Help, directed and written by Tate Taylor. Adapted from the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, the film offers a powerful cast, including Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone.
The Help explores the racial discrimination of the white Southern-bourgeoisie against their black household maids…..only this time, with a twist. The movie approaches the familiar subject from an unfamiliar angle, turning the limelight away from the whites and onto the black “help”. Even if such topic may seem a bit off especially to caucasian viewers, in the end, everything turn out to the greater reality of accepting the past and ironing out differences to proceed on as better human beings – together.
Emma Stone plays the young Skeeter, a society girl who returns home to Mississippi in order to become a writer. She decides to tackle a controversial subject and ventures out to interview the household maids in the community and document their side of the story. Though she may seem to find herself going to a more dangerous direction, nevertheless, the enslaved black maids have found their voice and even someone, not from their own race, listening to their woes and pains in life.
Aibileen, a black maid played by Viola Davis, influences Skeeter’s story as she opens up about her sorrows and tumults, while remaining ever-polite throughout the process. She also encourages other women in her situation to begin telling their stories as well.
The story conveys the suffering the black maids endure from their white employers, but also the fact that, despite it all, they maintain an overflowing love for the children for whom they care. While this film is by in large part light hearted and comedic, do not be surprised if you find yourself mixing your laughter with the occasional tear – for no film that touches on the topic of racism could bypass the issues that weigh heavy on many hearts. Spencer, who plays Aibileen’s best friend, Minny, demonstrates her control over the mood of the film by creating an entertaining, feel-good movie.
Overall, Taylor succeeds in maintaining the integrity of the book while turning it into an award-winning film by depicting the Southern culture of the 1960’s with a powerful cast, lovely setting, and intelligent dialogue. The Help is a must see movie that will not only widen your historical knowledge, but will leave you laughing, crying, and feeling good inside.