The cinema schedule ground to a sharp halt this week due to the release of Breaking Dawn so I used it as an opportunity to go and see The Help.
The Help is an adaptation of the novel by Katherine Stockett and the announcement that I have not read it will shock absolutely no one.
PLOT: Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to her childhood town in Mississippi after graduating college to work for the local paper. In order to get her dream job as a New York journalist Skeeter decides to interview two maids Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) to get their untold perspective on cooking, cleaning and essentially raising their employer’s children. END PLOT
The plot of The Help doesn’t deal with the Civil Rights movement in any great depth and keeps its focus firmly on Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. This works very well for the film as it is almost too breezy to deal with such a dark time in history in any great detail.
The tone of The Help is slightly conflicted as it is bright, colourful and has a very quirky feel to it yet racism and hatred are two of the key themes. It almost sounds ridiculously disjointed but it works and somehow it works very well.
What makes The Help such a strong film is the casting. It is not often that you get a film which is perfectly cast by The Help is one of those rare films.
Emma Stone is going to be a huge star and The Help has not tarnished her reputation in the slightest. She carries the film with likeable ease.
Viola Davis as Aibileen gave a very quiet dignified performance whereas Octavia Spencer was smart and sassy. The two complimented each other very well and I will admit I welled up on more than one occasion because of them.
Jessica Chastain was great fun as Ceilia Foote and Bryce Dallas Howard was virtually unrecognisable as Hilly Holbrook the film's villain.
The stand out star of The Help has to be Allison Janney who played Skeeter’s mother Charlotte. I am not embarrassed to confess that and on more than one occasion I did turn to my friends and declare my undying love for her which they reciprocated without hesitation.
There is no weak link in the cast and it is the actresses involved which made The Help totally engrossing – the film clocked in at well over two hours but I did not feel one second of the time go by.
The Help gets a very strong 8.5/10! It surprised me just how invested in the film I was and how emotional I became.
The only reason we ended up seeing the film was because Breaking Dawn and Tintin were the other options. Thank Christ Belgian comics and sparkly vampires do not appeal to me in the slightest!