“The Help” Rating: 9 ½
Finally, a heartfelt drama with a meaningful story line, well directed, superbly acted, coming out of Hollywood amidst the constant spray of box office trash. “The Help” will not dazzle you with techni-crap and special effects. If you only like movies that show animated characters invented in the imagination of computer geeks, don’t see this picture. If you only like pictures with car crashes, bullets flying and dead bodies, don’t see this picture. If you need a dose of nudity or sex scenes in your movies, stay away from “The Help.”
This is an early-1960’s based story about a Jackson, Mississippi town where the white elite looked down their noses at black servants, requiring separate facilities to keep the races separate. Having lived in that era, I can attest to the period accuracy of the settings, clothing styles, cars, even the dialogue. In this story, an enlightened young female journalist endeavors to write a book which depicts the point of view of the black house maids, in which she must interview many of the reluctant women.
Throughout the movies, emotions run high. You will feel pangs of love and sympathy, admiration and disgust. If there is any downside, it was the predictability of the story. The picture received a lot of hype and publicity in advance, and regular movie-goers will have been aware of the plot long before walking into the theater. In the script, the young author has a brief flirtation with a male character which could easily have been removed from the script without being missed.
The young author is played by Emma Stone while the two primary maid characters were played by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Other roles were equally riveting. I can smell Oscar nominations a mile away.
“The Help” placed second this week in the box office to “Rise of the Planet Of The Apes” which, of course, is a special effects creation. But if you like good drama, good acting and good stories, don’t miss “The Help.”