I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it. That's why I made sure to see this film in its first opening days. I've seen some other film adaptations of books lately and have been disappointed. And so I must say that I was completely delighted with the film adaptation of "The Help". Not only did it stay true to the book, it was so well cast that every character rang true. I laughed. I cried. And I felt real emotion throughout.
The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's. Emma Stone is cast as a young white college graduate who yearns to be taken seriously as a writer. Her first job is writing a column on cleaning house in the local paper and so she starts interviewing the African American women who work as maids in the homes of her friends. Immediately, her eyes are opened to the realities of their lives and decides to turn her knowledge into an eventual book.
Viola Davis is excellent in the role of Aibileen who gives the child she cares for an abundance of love and attention. Octavia Spencer is cast as Minnie, another maid with a strong personality who is full of grit and gumption. And Bryce Dally Howard is cast as Hilly, an obnoxious young white social-climbing woman who we all love to hate.
The plot moves swiftly and even though the film is 2-1/2 hours long, I was so caught up in it that I didn't want it to end. Here was a snapshot in a time of racial prejudice and the exploitation of household help in a era that has hopefully passed into history. And yes, it also has its bittersweet comedic moments which made the film even more endearing. I loved this film. Don't miss it.