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The #1 New York Times bestseller by Kathryn Stockett comes to vivid life through the powerful performances of a phenomenal ensemble cast. Led by Emma Stone, Academy Award®-nominated Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress, Doubt, 2008), Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. Filled with poignancy, humor and hope — and complete with compelling, never-before-seen bonus features — The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant 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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Top customer reviews
The stories, based on Kathryn Stockett's phenomenally successful (and beloved) novel, are female-centric, as they focus on the relationships among the women, black and white, employee and employer, complete with abuse of power, sincere affection, bitchiness, and well-founded fear. The men in the audience were equally vocal because men in this story are not demonized: Racism and ignorance are the villains here.
The casting is to die for:
* Viola Davis ("It's Kind of a Funny Story") is Aibileen, the heart, brains and soul of this wonderful story.
* Emma Stone ("Crazy, Stupid, Love") is Skeeter, the well-meaning young wannabe writer. She is told by her New York publisher to hurry with her book about black domestics working for prominent white families, before "this whole civil-rights thing blows over."
* Octavia Spencer ("Dinner For Schmucks") is Minny, who has most of the funny lines. I know the word "sassy" is overworked, but this sister is sassy! And in case you read the book, YES, she does bake that pie! (Spencer won an Oscar for this role.)
* Bryce Dallas Howard ("Hereafter") is Hilly, the witch we love to hate. Her comeuppance can't come any too soon and is greeted with cheers from the audience.
* Jessica Chastain ("Jolene") is Celia, the lost soul taken under the warm wing of her maid where she learns some necessary survival skills.
* Allison Janney ("Life During Wartime") is Charlotte, our writer's mother, who has her own heart-breaking story.
* Sissy Spacek ("Get Low") is Missus Walters, she just wants Ambrosia salad, a bit of sherry and her "soaps." Her glee when her nasty daughter hits a rough patch is infectious.
* Cicely Tyson ("Why Did I Get Married Too?") is Constantine, the elderly domestic who is wrongfully fired.
* David Oyelowo ("The Rise of the Planet of the Apes") is Preacher Green, the local neighborhood preacher. This adroit actor was born in the U.K.
I'm frustrated because time and space do not permit me to include all the deserving names. Suffice it to say, the talent in this cast is broad and deep.
This PG-13 film has no profanity; domestic abuse is only implied; and you will see no gunfights, car chases or blowie uppie stuff. Teenagers can learn what our world was like just a few short decades ago. They will be shocked! I've ordered my copy from Amazon.
As for the movie itself - it's simply one of the best films ever to hit the big screen. Everyone did an outstanding job and it has everything - it's not just a drama, but it's hilarious too.
This story is well done, entertaining, funny, but also deep to remind us of where we've come from, what we are capable of, and how we need to learn the basic human instincts that caused this in the first place.
I promise you! Watch this for the PIE scene alone. LOL You will laugh and cheer so hard!!