The Help (2011)

The Help tells the story of rebellious Skeeter, played by Emma Stone, a 23 year old with big dreams. Her first job is working at the local newspaper writing a cleaning advice column however soon she sets her sights on making a big splash in the world by writing a book about what the help think about the white families they serve. This film is set in Mississippi during the 60’s so there was still vast amounts of prejudice and discrimination against black people.

Emma Stone is simply amazing in her role. I fall in love with her more and more every film i see her in, she is such a versatile actress and at a young age to have shown this much range is superb, she is definitely one of the better actors of her generation. She convinces entirely as the fairly sheltered young woman who genuinely believes that everyone should be equal and wants everyone to hear the help’s side of the story.

Now, moving onto the maids, Viola Davis is superb as the maid who has lost everything and is disrespected openly by her employers. Thus giving her nothing to lose and making her the first to help Skeeter write her book. Davis gives a moving performance, ranging from a downtrodden woman who has lost almost everything yet still remaining strong all through to being truly happy. Octavia L. Spencer also puts in a great performance as the strong and stubborn Minny who, despite the oppourtunity, refuses to break the rules about the help and their employers congregating anymore than necessary. All the other actresses and actors playing maids, gardeners, etc. do a great job.

Now to the other end of the spectrum, the rich people, aka the employers. All are great, Bryce Dallas Howard is superb and instantly detestable. All of the cast are just great.

Tate Taylor rarely gets inventive with the shots or the camera work. The only nice touch i feel he added was over the closing credits he had a certain character walking away from the camera down a long stretch of road, as if to symbolise that this is only the beginning and that there is a long road ahead of black people, which, as history tells us, there is. I thought that was a creative way to say it, but besides that, nothing of note which is a shame.

However, Tate Taylor also wrote the screenplay and clearly he is much more suited to writing than directing. However some of the language used seemed out of place in the 60’s which is only a minor fault, yet still affected the movie, slightly, for me.

Amazing acting, average directing, a great screenplay and an interesting story to tell. This comes highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest, if only to show that Emma Stone’s range as an actress and not just a funny actress. Watch this movie, but don’t expect perfection.


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