Adapted from Kathryn Sockett’s 2009 emotional, bestselling novel, The Help is set in the South of the early 1960s where everything is black and white—politics, power, social lines, and, certainly, employer-employee relations.
Critics of the book and movie say it falls short in depicting racial grievances at the time the civil rights movement was forming. But this is a story, not a history. And at its heart is a resonating truth about the roles we play in life, whether we are cast in them or grow into them.
In The Help, Emma Stone plays the role of Skeeter Phelan, who plays the role of the unconventional writer. Viola Davis plays the role of Aibileen Clark, who plays the role of the wise black maid. Bryce Dallas Howard plays the role of Hilly Holbrook, who plays the role of the snooty Junior League president. Octavia Spencer plays the role of Minny Jackson, who plays the role of the “sassy” black maid.
With these polarized relationships in mind, Skeeter embarks on a dangerous project that could turn society in Jackson, MI, right on its beautifully coiffed head: she decides to write a book about what it's like to be a black maid and work for a white family—raising and loving generations of their children, being pushed aside on whims, and even relegated to using an outhouse instead of the too-precious indoor facilities.
It's the toilet issue, in fact, that tips the bathroom scale.
Fascinating and heart-breaking—if slightly imperfect—in its examination of all the shades of gray, The Help definitely strikes a chord.
Also opening this weekend, 30 Minutes or Less, a comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg; Final Destination 5, the latest in the horror franchise; and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, with more singing and dancing and cuteness from the TV cast.
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The Help: PG-13, 2 hours, 17 minutes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, PG-13, 1 hour, 50 minutes
30 Minutes or Less, R, 1 hour 23 minutes
The Change-Up, R, 1 hour, 41 minutes
Cowboys & Aliens, PG-13, 1 hour, 58 minutes
The Smurfs, PG, 1 hour, 26 minutes
Glee the 3D Concert Movie, PG, 1 hour, 40 minutes
Crazy, Stupid, Love, PG-13, 1 hour, 47 minutes
Final Destination 5, R, 1 hour, 35 minutes
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2, PG-13, 2 hours, 10 minutes