The Help

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:18 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Help
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dreamworks / Walt Disney Studio
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Kiddie Movie: It’s pretty adult, especially some of the racial hatred.
Date Movie: It’s a dudette flick that I think dudes will secretely like.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: You don’t see it much, but you know it’s happening.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: There are a lot of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The reveal of the pie given to Hilly.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Cool things about the Blu-ray: It’s not overblown with special features, just a nice look at real mades of Mississippi, and a a good look at how the film ended up being made.

Okay, I admit it, as I guy I had absolutely no desire to see “The Help” when it was in the theater, and even probably made fun of it during a podcast or two.  At the time I figured I was lucky to get out of seeing it as my schedule just didn’t fit going to see it with my wife, but then I saw the notice that it was coming out on Blu-ray, and knowing my wife would probably like to see it, I sucked up my man-card and got a copy to review.  Wouldn’t you know it, I really liked the movie, and as “womanly” as the movie might seem, it tells a fabulous story of a time when things were truly changing.

Enough reflecting.  “The Help” is a movie about the maids in Jackson, Mississippi, at a time in the 1960’s when racial issues were very much at the forefront of life, and the transition from treating these strong women like property to treating them like people finally started to occur.  The movie is based on the novel by Kathryn Socket, about a writer, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), who was perturbed by how the white women of the south were treating the help, especially Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard), who was fully of the sort that blacks should be separated from whites, so much so that she wanted a law that households have a separate bathroom for the blacks, or something crazy like that.  Skeeter decides that the stories of the maids needed to be told, only it was illegal to publically write the story, so she devises a plan to write a novel based on anonymous accounts of the maids she would interview.  In the meantime, throughout the movie, we are immersed into the lives of the various women, from the racist white women who seem to have blinders on as to the child raising ability of their maids, to the maids themselves, as they have to deal with the uppity employers, abusive husbands, and false arrests based on only a complaint by a white woman to the police.

But at the core of the movie is really how strong all of the maids tended to be, and how, even though they shouldn’t be treated differently, understood it happens, and work through it.  Nowhere does this story come more to light than with the life of Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), who originally worked for Hilly, but when fired devised a plan to get back at Hilly, in a way that turns out to help maintain keep Hilly at bay when the book is released, and after being fired by Hilly, finds herself working for the societal outcast, Celia (Jessica Chastain), where they both end up understanding each other even though from different sides of the social spectrum.

There are parts of the movie that just seem downright a bummer, as it recalls how blacks were treated at the time, and how far we still, as a society have yet to go, but the bestness of the movie is how it shows that sometimes it isn’t a smart thing to mess with a smart woman, even if that woman is supposed to be “less” than you.

The acting in the movie is great, even though the movie is over two hours it flows nicely, and even as a guy, I really liked “The Help.”  So go ahead and get the movie, cheer on woman who deserve their triumph when the book is released during the film, and grin when you discover how Minny gets back at Hilly.

It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “The Help.”

And as far as the Blu-ray is concerned, they don’t go crazy with the extras, but they are a nice little addition to the movie.  For a change there is actually a “deleted scenes” feature that has scenes I thought would still fit nicely in the movie, the “In Their Own Words: A Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi” feature is a well-done, not overblown “interview” with real maids of Mississippi,  and the “Making of…” feature didn’t go crazy with making it stuff, just giving nice, little blurbs of how some of the locations came to be, and how the movie ended up in the hands of little known Director, Tate Taylor, who did a great job with the film.

Not too crazy on the extras, which is nice, and a great movie, makes “The Help” a high recommendation from me.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!