The 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.
Read on to see all the films watched this year…
62 Films so far this year
- The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
- World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
- Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
- Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
- The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
- Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
- The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
- Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
- Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
- Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
- Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
- This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
- The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
- Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
- Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
- Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
- The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
- The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
- Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
- Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
- Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
- You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
- The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
- The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
- Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
- Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
- The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
- Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
- The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
- Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
- 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
- Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
- Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
- A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
- Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
- Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
- New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
- Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
- Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
- The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
- The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
- Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
- The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
- Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
- The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
- Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
- Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
- A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
- Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
- The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
- Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
- Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
- Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
- We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
- Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
- The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
- 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
- The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
- The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
- The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
I think I gave it the same rating, no it’s not a perfect film. I agree that I love Chastain’s performance a lot, she’s just great in everything I’ve seen her so far. She’s one busy girl but always manages to give her all. Btw, I was rooting for Viola at the Oscars!
Viola looked so different at the Oscars! Sure, I hadn’t seen the film, but it was a totally different person. In a good way!
Glad you liked this one, there is so much of unjustified hatred for the film that it simplifies things etc. but it’s not supposed to paint a picture on how black people were treated in genereal, but how black maids were. I loved all of the performance, I agree Chastain was the best, but I also adored Dalas Howard, who really should have got more recognition for her work here. Skeeter was great character, so likable and compassionate.
Dallas Howard really had the sort of venom required for her character. Just wow.
Good review Jaina. This film had some great performances from the whole cast and emotional moments that really hit the spot, but it was a little too long for my taste. 2 hours and 15 minutes of racism in the deep South is a little too much for me to take considering how repetitive things can get.
Yeah, the length got to me too. There was a lot in there that could have been taken out. It got the point fairly early on, but took about half an hour too longer driving it home.
I haven’t seen that movie yet. It’s the same situation with the Hunger Games. i wanted to watch the movie after I read the book. Never got around to read the book, so I didn’t watch the movie. FAIL! LOL
By your review, I have a feeling I’m going to like this movie. Total chick flick. I better bring my tissues, just in case, uh?
If I was like that, I’d never get around to seeing so many films! I usually end up doing it in reverse – film first and then book. Just because I never manage the books first. Done that with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 127 Hours and Never Let Me Go to name a few.
Tissues – yes. If you’re a weeper like me!
Pretty great movie. I think I reviewed it a long time ago and gave it my highest score. Which for me is saying a lot. It does have some problems, though, such as being starkly black and white. But the humor really works, as well as the dramatic scenes. Considering the typical Oscar bait we get every year **coughTheKing’sSpeechcough**, this one is miles above the others.
Ok, I am shocked at that, Brik. If it comes with your approval, it’s got to be worth your time.
The King’s Speech was fine. It got far more praise than it deserved. Good film, but nothing I can be arsed watching again.
I think I’d see it! I do love Emma Stone! Every thing is “black” and “white”, figuratively and literally — you don’t find much of that anymore.
Emma Stone’s brilliant in this. Very likeable character.
I saw this recently for the first time and thought it was excellent. Really like Emma Stone but the performances across the board are excellent. I liked the little bits of humour and the film’s heart is certainly in the right place.
Very interesting insight on this film…mention of the “gray” area characters. I saw it differently, but love that you bring that out. I was a little thrown off by the inclusion of Skeeter’s love interest…it was completely unnecessary for the film.
yet, you loved Brave FAR more than this one? 😉
Yeah, I thought Skeeter’s love interest thing was a bit unnecessary. Maybe it was to give the audience more sympathy for the character and other plights of women of that decade? Who knows.
Yes, I did love Brave more than this one. Deal with it! 😉
hahahaha. I done dealt with it! LOL
Jaina, great review! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been able to comment, but very nice — I like some of the new design you’ve applied to the site. Looks sharp!
I was a big fan of The Help, yet I still share your quips as well with the film. Very black and white. Yet honestly moving, and all around inspiring.
Thanks Kristin – every now and then I get a little bored and feel the need to change things up. One day I’ll get around designing something of my own here!
Very moving film. I won’t deny that. One of the better bits of Oscar fodder we’ve had.
Wholeheartedly agree with you on this one, Jaina. It appears you don’t give 4.5s; back when I saw/reviewed this, I gave it an “A”, which is roughly 4.5/5. Great movie, with a delightful blend of humor and drama. Another relief was the faith to the book.
Yeah, I stick to my whole points. Which does make grading films a little tricky at times!