(USA, 2011). Director: Tate Taylor. Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Genre: Drama. 146 mins.
|Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen in The Help|
About the film
It's 1960s, Jackson, Mississippi. A young budding female author decides that the best way to get noticed is to write a story about the black maids in her neighbourhood. Whilst doing this she discovers secrets, loyalties and deceits.
What I think
This film is an adaptation of a book I love. I held off watching it for a long time because I didn't want my version of this story to be ruined by Hollywood. However, I decided to give it a go and I wasn't altogether disappointed.
The women in this film drive the narrative forward. Emma Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan. I had pictured Skeeter taller, more awkward and significantly less pretty. Viola Davis plays Aibileen Clark and Octavia Spencer plays the mouthy Minny Jackson. My only criticism of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer is that neither of them seem old enough to be in the roles. Make-up didn't convince me either. However, all three women play their parts well and Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this film.
I feel that a lot of the story was left untold and unfortunately what was missing was the unique voice of each woman which was so well crafted by Kathryn Stockett. Admittedly that is easier to achieve on the page than it is on screen, but I wonder what your experience of the film would be if you hadn't read the book.