Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Help (2011) - Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spenser

The story of a young girl who returns to her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi in 1963, she aspires to become a writer.

While her friends titter around the bridge table, she begins to ask the town's maids to tell their stories.

Civil riots are breaking out in Mississippi, one of the worst states in the country. The maids, afraid for their jobs, their families and their lives, decide to risk all to tell the town's secrets.

The movie stars Easy A's Emma Stone as Skeeter, the wide-eyed journalist. The two central maids are played by Doubt's Viola Davis and Spiderman's Octavia Spenser and give scene-stealing performances. Octavia, in fact, really steals the show.

A superb cast, the catty queen bee, Hilly Holbrook, is played by Ron Howard's baby girl, Bryce Dallas Howard. Jessica Chastain, from Tree of Life, is charming as the ditzy, white trash bombshell. And Allison Janney is wonderful as Skeeter's mother.

All in all, it was well done and not too smarmy.

My only concern is that some may think that this is based in fact. Although the notion is real and these types of incidents did occur, no book, entitled "The Help", was ever published in 1963.

And the most interesting factoid? One of the executive producers was Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Company, and Nate Berkus, a designer and Oprah protege.

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