Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Help Review - 4 Stars

Based on the beloved novel by Kathryn Stockett, ”The Help” tells the story of Black household workers in the pre-civil rights South. These maids or “help” - essentially co-parented or even mothered the white children of the families who embraced, yet discriminated against them. The movie begins with a powerful statement by Viola Davis on the pain of raising other women’s children. Her story intersects with the return of Emma Stone to her home town of Jackson where she hopes to begin a career as a writer. A publisher tells her to write something edgy, and she comes up with the idea of interviewing maids on their experience working in white homes. Most of these women worked daily for one family exclusively. “The Help” never feels preachy. It includes a parade of great actresses - Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Cecily Tyson, Dallas Bryce Howard, and a particular stand out - Octavia Spencer as Minny, who gets her revenge on the meanest white woman in town. “The Help” stands head and shoulders above the usual summer fare. I think it belongs in this year’s list of Oscar contenders. I highly recommend “The Help.” Does it deliver what it promises? Fans of the book will be pleased. Is it entertaining? Mixes humor and a very serious subject. Is it worth the price of admission? One of this year’s must-see movies.