100 movies: The Help

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The HelpThe Help (11/08/12)

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Playing catch up with the last year’s (or so) major films. When The Help hit cinemas over here I can’t say I was too pushed to want to see it. It just looked like familiar awards season fodder. For the most part, I do still think it is. But it’s got a heck of a lot of heart.

I’ll get over the things that didn’t make The Help a 5/5 film for me. It’s a simple story. Which isn’t the bad thing. But it’s the characters in the story that I found a little simple. The portrayal of the white people of the time are mostly the same – obtuse about the whole racial situation. And in the black community, there are no ‘bad’ black people. As such, it’s a very black and white story. I guess it’s the lack of the grey area which made this film great Oscar fodder.

Okay, that’s the cynical stuff done. What did I enjoy? Pretty much everything else. It’s a really interesting story about a time in American history when everything was beginning to change. But what I found really interesting was that this really wasn’t all that long ago. The 1960s aren’t a decade I think about and think that was eons ago.

The performances are excellent all around. The stand out for me was Jessica Chastain’s Celia Foote. I really warmed to her completely ditzy but ultimately, warm-hearted character. I loved how her relationship with Minny evolved.

Emma Stone’s Skeeter was someone I wished I could be. She had very strong beliefs and nothing would change them. Not family or friends. She stuck to them in a time where those beliefs could very easily have gotten her killed. Considering where she lived. I admired her while watching the film.

The Help is a lovely film. Though, it’s the sort of film where you know it’ll have a happy ending from he get-go. But the story is so well told and performances are so good, it’s hard to let that get to you.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…