Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon; aThe Helpa stars Emma Stone (aEasy Aa) as Skeeter; Academy AwardAanominated Viola Davis (aDoubta) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minnyathree very different; extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s; who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges; instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them; and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossedaeven if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. Deeply moving; filled with poignancy; humor and hope; aThe Helpa is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.
There are male viewers who will enjoy The Help
, but Mississippi native Tate Taylor aims his adaptation squarely at the female readers who made Kathryn Stockett's novel a bestseller. If the multi-character narrative revolves around race relations in the Kennedy-era South, the perspective belongs to the women. Veteran maid Aibileen (Doubt
's Viola Davis in an Oscar-worthy performance) provides the heartfelt narration that brackets the story. A widow devastated by the death of her son, she takes pride in the 17 children she has helped to raise, but she's hardly fulfilled. That changes when Skeeter (Easy A
's Emma Stone) returns home after college. Unlike her peers, Skeeter wants to work, so she gets a job as a newspaper columnist. But she really longs to write about Jackson's domestics, so she meets with Aibileen in secret--after much cajoling and the promise of anonymity. When Aibileen's smart-mouthed friend Minny (breakout star Octavia Spencer) breaches her uptight employer's protocol, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) gives her the boot, and she ends up in the employ of local outcast Celia (Jessica Chastain, hilarious and heartbreaking), who can't catch a break due to her dirt-poor origins. After the murder of Medgar Evers, even more maids, Minny among them, bring their stories to Skeeter, leading to a book that scandalizes the town--in a good way. Not since Steel Magnolias
has Hollywood produced a Southern woman's picture more likely to produce buckets of tears (and almost as many laughs). --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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