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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Help (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
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Showing 1-10 of 52 reviews (1 star)show all reviews
on February 24, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
i Purchased this movie thinking that i would do a film evaluation for a school paper, but after the first few minutes into the movie i remembered why i hated it. This depiction of black women, the help is sickening. Sure this is part of history,but the racism and mistreatment of blacks has not gone anywhere it is still embedded in the hearts and minds of some people, that we are still the "help" and the fact that the writer has gotten this story from "somewhere" i wonder why hollywood accepts these type of stories from white writers and not from blacks????
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on March 25, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Excellent movie, however something was wrong with the DVD as it wouldn't play even after several attempts. Ended up getting a refund instead.
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on February 15, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
The streaming was awful...it cut out halfway through. Too bad it was a good movie.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This movie was such disappointing execution of a great book. It was as if the screenwriters didn't know they'd have to leave something out of the movie. Felt like ALL the characters got short shrift and, in some cases, were not represented as they were in the book.

I think most of the actors did a great job with their parts but their parts paled compared to the book versions of them. It made me mad to see this win awards.
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67 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***

I watched this movie and, for what it is worth, enjoyed it at the time. But upon further reflection, I think this movie is not very good.

There are good moments in the movie, but then there are other moments that seem jarringly unrealistic. In another movie I wouldn't care. But in a film that at its core purports to accurately depict racism in the 50's / 60's, this starts to become a big problem for me later on.

And yes, I know it is just a movie - not non-fiction. But with the amount of people touting this as an "important" or "life changing" movie, I think a bit of extra thinking is in order.

One of the problems to me is that the main characters seem very shallow. Skeeter is the plucky young writer who is willing to face injustice, no matter the cost. Hilly is the EVIL racist who is set on destroying black people's lives. There's also an airhead blonde who serves little purpose in the movie, and a few bad mothers tossed in for fun. The black maids are all portrayed pretty similarly. They are all shown as good, honest people, many of whom raise and care for the babies of bad white mothers.

Skeeter in particular seemed like a very unrealistic character. When the person who wrote the story makes the main character a writer, you know you are in for trouble. It comes off as self-indulgent as best. Mostly, it feels anachronistic. She's a liberal crusader for civil rights, and she arrived at this position how? From the maid being fired? I'm not buying it. Sure, there were some white people in Mississippi who cared about equal rights for blacks, but not many. And those who acted upon those beliefs were punished for it.

And that brings me to another problem I have with Skeeter. She never suffers the true consequences of her actions. Never gets fired. Never receives death threats. Instead, she gets rewarded. She gets a nice cushy job in New York. The end of the movie sees her abandoning her black "friends" in Mississippi and heading off to a nice career for herself, never to have to worry about race-related matters again.

What? You say her boyfriend dumped her for her beliefs? That was negative, right? Oh, puh-lease. That in no way compared to the kind of things that true civil rights advocates suffered. Losing a boyfriend would have been the least of her worries.

That brings me to another thing I don't like in this movie - how it portrays men. The men are either non-existent, or fools. Buffoons or worse. Mostly, they just exist as props for the women in the story, who comprise the main characters. Nothing wrong with that, but I would have preferred for the movie to at least made some attempt to not show every man in it as a blockhead.

The movie makes some attempt to avoid stereotypes and give the characters some depth, but still falls flat. I could not relate at all to most of the main characters. Maybe that's because I'm a guy, but I don't think so. It feels like weak writing.

The writing went off the rails in a lot of scenes. One that stood out to me was when all the toilets were delivered to Hilly's front yard, and she has this big over-dramatic public meltdown. First, I find it hard to believe that people would dump that many toilets without at least knocking on the door. Second, I don't see a tough character like that bawling in public at all. But both events served the author of the story in her effort to make us feel that Evil Hilly got what she deserved.

Speaking of Hilly... Bryce Dallas Howard stars, and man is she hot! God, what a babe. It's hard to believe she's related to Clint "Have some tranya" Howard. Dang, that guy looks like he was hit with the ugly stick. Okay, getting back on topic...

There were a lot of things in this movie that didn't make sense to me. Like the whole deal on Constantine getting fired. I didn't understand why the black daughter wouldn't just go around the back. Surely the white lady had entertained visitors before, hadn't she? And even if she hadn't, what's the big deal about being asked to go around back? And then when she does come in the front anyway, why is everyone so upset about it? It is viewed by the guests as an act of defiance, worthy of firing the black lady. To me, it just looks like a simple misunderstanding that the white lady would have easily explained and shrugged off. I'm supposed to believe that most white people back then were so racist that they never had any common sense at all? I don't know about that. The Constantine firing seems forced to me.

And then later, we are told that Constantine has died, and Skeeter just takes it. Hello? She still has a daughter, people! A family! Maybe you could try to visit? Maybe even apologize? Nah, that's too much trouble.

The movie has a lot of sentimental feel-goodisms that I didn't really care for. Like the cancerous mother who - inspired by her daughter - "decides to live" and suddenly becomes her own champion for social justice. Or Evil Hilly, who gets forced to eat it. Oh, and she also gets a cold sore at one point. Because that's what happens to EVIL people - cold sores!

The worst part is when it takes sentimentalism and combines it with a lack of logic in order to create a result that makes you feel good - until you wonder what you are cheering about. A good example is when the maid steals a ring and tries to pawn it. We're supposed to feel sorry for her later when the evil redneck cops arrest her. Why? Because Hilly is EVIL, so to heck with her. And the woman really, REALLY needs the money. It's for the children. Also, she just "found" the ring, she it's not really stealing. Um, no.

Yes, I know she stole out of desperation for her kids. And if Hilly had been caring enough or not-racist enough, she would have loaned her the $75 she needed. But wait a minute! We're supposed to hate Hilly because she won't loan the lady $75? That makes her racist? Hello, people! That's a lot of money for back then! Personally, I wouldn't even loan that much money to my brother today, let alone back then. Racism's got nothing to do with it.

One of the odd things about this movie is the very premise of it. A white woman is trying to "help" black women by telling their side of the story. But the only thing she ends up "helping" is getting herself a nice a job and getting the main black maid fired (along with countless others, probably). So by helping these women, she is actually exploiting them. Am I missing something? Or am I just blind? Why are other people seeing a virtue here where I'm not?

Let's face it. A book like The Help would never have been published, let alone become a hit. What white woman back then would have been interested in buying a book showing a black person's side of the story? The fact that the Jim Crow laws and racial segregation still existed shows that the vast majority of whites weren't too interested in what black people thought about anything.

Another thing that irked me was how Abilene was fired at the end after Skeeter abandoned her, but we are supposed to be okay with that because Abilene says she's going to become a writer. (Again with the "Writer" Heroines... Sheesh!) I didn't expect a happy ending. But become a writer? Yeah, right.

There's another thing worth mentioning. Many have taken to writing glowing reviews of the incredible acting of Viola Davis in this movie. That's much ado about nothing to me. She was okay. Not bad acting, but nothing outstanding either. I think people who do this are mostly white people who are trying to overcompensate and prove they don't have any internal racism by giving big props to a black actress. I mean, the woman is certainly talented and competent, but no more than anyone else in the movie.

I will say this. My 1 star review is not fair. The movie deserves more than that. But my review won't get read if I give it a higher rating, so from my self-centered viewpoint, 1 star it is. There are plenty of 5-star ratings already, so it's not like my rating is going to make a difference.

One thing I liked was seeing a few scenes from Clarksdale, Mississippi in this movie. Having been to Clarksdale many times, I thought this part was really cool.

Back to the story. The main problem I have upon watching this is I don't know what to believe. The world has changed so much from the Jim Crow era that I'm unwilling to accept the history of it wrapped in a saccharine-sweet feel-good movie. I would like to see a movie depicting the real struggles that took place, without a bunch of sentimental fluff. I want the harsh truth. Not a sugar-coated feel-good summer chick flick. Guess I'll keep looking.

I want to see the world the way it really was, if possible. Where blacks pulled themselves out of the hole through a lot of grit and determination, not the storybook movie lie where long-suffering blacks are finally "saved" by kindly, progressive white people. At least this movie made me think about that, and want to read more of the actual history. So that's something.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This DVD will not play - haven't been able to view it-wasted my money- Elaine Rivers
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I didn't know i was buying a dvd that had missing scenes.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I can't access the movie
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2012
Format: DVD
Ehow: How can I turn a great read into a general appeal movie without integrity or appeal?

This is surely what the screenplay writers and Disney typed into google when they sought to turn New York Times bestseller, The Help, into a movie. I feel for Stockett, although she is surely happy to see her 1st novel do so well and to have sold it for the big screen. It must, however, have been a bittersweet day when she saw her baby at the premier. The book itself was a page turner, well written, realistic and thrilling. I loved it! The movie lost all of that intensity, with the overall message of the film straying so far from what Stockett had portrayed. I can't imagine how she must have felt afterwards. I think I would have been ill once I got home. There is a review by The Cool Guy here at Amazon, in which he detailed illogical scenes and messages of the movie, I will not include these here as his review does this well. I hope he reads the book, these problems are not present there. I also feel for the actors of this film. What an amazing offer to have a role in what could have been a film to remember. They did what they could with what was written, however, the screenplay writers and directors really took a wonderful opportunity away from them with their decision to write the movie as they did. I look forward to seeing them in films that deserve the name. As a movie, it was cute, distracting - not a 1 star but not a 5 star either. My question, were the producers, directors and editors rushed by some selling force as was portrayed by Elaine Stein when she urged Skeeter to hurry up and send her manuscript, "before this whole civil rights thing blows over."?
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26 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I had avoided both the book, and then the movie version of THE HELP as it appeared to be yet another entry to the Driving Miss Daisy genre of feel good, simplistic examinations of topics that in truth are not easy, simple and if there is a good feeling - well, it came after a great deal of suffering, death & pain. I finally gave in tonight and watched the movie. I hissed at the oh so evil character very well-played by Bryce Dallas Howard. In fact, I'll take my hat off to her for giving some depth to what could have been a cartoon. She plays her as a sad person - which makes the harsh lines delivered to her in the denouement seem real - despite the fact that no African American maid in the 1960s would have EVER spoken such words. In the world of The Help - the biggest threat to the African American community is the idiocy, bitchiness or callousness of the hoity-toity "well-bred" white women. This threat is swept away in a glistening fantasy of moxie that can rid The South of such pesky, foolish ladies. This is because The Help teaches us that the combination of minority-underdog gumption and big-hearted white people trumps the "backwards" ways of those callow racists. Unfortunately, The Help teaches us one thing, and history teaches us another. Mississippi still holds segregated proms. And, back in the 1960s, showing such "gumption" could easily result in death. The worst The South had to offer its maids was much worse than the petty insults foisted upon them by narrow-minded bosses or by having to use a (yegads!) different toilet in the house. While it makes me feel good to think those suffering ladies were surrounded in the cozy embrace of the daffy, loving White Trash bimbo who cleaves to her maid like a long lost sister, or the noble, curly-wigged liberal who risks not being popular or married so that she might bring equality to The South or that racist mothers dying of cancer both beat cancer AND become enlightened in a single moment --- well, I can't believe it once the movie stops playing. In fact, what tasted like a chocolate pie while I was watching the film, tastes like Minnie's "special" pie once the movie is done. Let's be frank. This book is fluff. This movie is fluff. We all like easy entertainment. We like to curse our villains and root for our heroes and we all want a happy ending. However, I think it's problematic when the ingredients for this confection are portions of history that are anything but sweet. You can't write a feel-good tale of female-bonding between do-good white women and their African American maids. You can't have your cake and eat it it too. The book is a lie. The movie is a lie. The solace I have, as I reflect on The Help, is that there WERE brave, noble, white people who wanted to bring equality to The South: Andrew Goodman & Michael Schwerner. They didn't end up at big job in NYC. They ended up dead.
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