The new movie, The Help, based on the New York Times best selling book, tells the stories of women in the 1960s. The book is a fictional account of what life might have been like for black women who worked as housemaids in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. Most of you are book lovers and have already read the book. As a book lover myself, you're probably wondering the question that is always in my mind when seeing a movie based on a book. Did they stick to the book? I have to say, for the most part, they did. There were a few differences but I think they made the movie even BETTER. I loved the book, but the book's characters just came to life on the big screen. Also, I felt like the setting was depicted really well in the movie. I guess I tend to think of 1963 as being SOOOO long ago, I think when reading the book I was picturing women from maybe the 30s or 40s. It was cool to see the 1960s-- the homes, the clothes, the hairstyles. There was also something special about sharing this story with a roomful of people. I haven't been to a movie in a long time where people all around me were erupting with laughter, cheering for particular characters, and going through a packet of tissues. Oh wait, that someone with the tissues was me.
In case you missed the book, the story is told by a white woman named Skeeter (Emma Stone). She grew up with a black woman, Charlotte, who took care of her. As young journalist, she begins to notice the social injustices these women, like the one who raised her, face. She convinces a black maid, Aibileen (Viola Davis) to tell her story. It takes a great amount of courage for Aibileen to speak out about her life and the unfair treatment she faces. Eventually another maid, Minny(Octavia Spencer), agrees to also tell her story to Skeeter. She lets us in on Miss Hilly, one of the most hated of the white women who hire help. As more maids speak up about their plight, the women find that together they can create change in their community. I felt that each of the characters were really well acted in the movie.
I also took my husband, Greg, to see this movie with me. He figured I was taking him to a chick flick, which I was, but he was up for an evening out with his wife. Isn't he sweet? I think he might have even loved the movie a little. He said at the beginning he was worried that it was going to be a depressing movie, but it ended up being a great feel good movie. I heard him laughing out loud several times. And he said his eyes were "itchy" but they seemed to be very "itchy" at all the emotionally griping moments.
I think this would be a fun movie for a group of book club friends to go see together. But I also think it would be a fun date night! I'm not a movie critic so I can't review all the ins and outs of good movie production, but if I were the one giving out awards for movies, I would definitely give this one an award. Or two! In fact, although I was invited to a free adavanced screening of this film, I will definitely go see it again.
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U.S. Release date: August 10, 2011
Running Time: 137 mins.
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel
Director: Tate Taylor
Producers: Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
Executive Producers: Mark Radcliffe, Tate Taylor, L. Dean Jones Jr., Nate Berkus, Jennifer Blum, John Norris, Jeff Skoll and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei
Screenplay by: Tate Taylor
Based on the novel by: Kathryn Stockett