Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I know it has been awhile since I have done a post but I could not wait to do a post about The Help starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis.  I had the opportunity to read the book first (written by Kathryn Stockett) and I knew then it was going to be an instant hit.  If you have seen the movie but have not read the book, I do recommend that you read the book.  Even though the movie kept close to the book, the movie does leave out parts from book (which is common when a book is adapted into a movie) that helps you get an even deeper understanding of the characters.  I understand that even if a movie is flawless there are still going be some critics who not going to care for a movie.  But what urks me is when critics pick the smallest, non-significant detail to make a big deal about.  Unfortunately, a lot of the negative feedback for this movie has come from the black community. 

A major criticism that I have heard about the movie (and the book) is that it is a white woman telling the story of black maids.  What made me mad about this criticism was that it was obviously made by someone who had not read the book.  I agree that no one can tell the story better of what it was to be a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi in 1960's better than someone who was a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's.  In the book and the movie, Skeeter, a young, recent college graduate white woman, says it plainly: "It's not about me."  The Help made it very clear that this was not going to be a story about making it seem like it was a walk in the park to be a black maid during a time when just expressing your opinion about Jim Crow laws would have got you lynched, another point brought out in the book and movie. I actually respect Kathryn Stockett for telling the ugly truth of her people to bring to light an unfortunate part of our history. 

Some other criticism that I have heard is that the movie left out some facts, like the sexual abuse some maids endured from the men they worked for.  Again, if these critics  had read the book they would have seen that this issue is discussed.  I'm not sure why this was not discussed in the movie but Hilly Holbrook gave us enough bigotry for us to get the picture of what it was to be a maid in Mississippi or anywhere in the South for that matter.  I just love how the critics and historians (mostly black people who did not grow up in this era) are calling the move out for not being accurate.  I had the privilege of going to see this movie with my mother, who grew up in the 1950's and 1960's.  It was very hard for my mother to enjoy the movie because it was an hour and 40 minute flashback for her.  She expressed to me that she felt like she was going to have to walk out because of just how accurate it was.  May I also note that Myrlie Evers, Medgar Ever's wife who is mentioned in the movie, had high remarks for the movie. 

I get that not everyone is going to like the movie.  We are all entitled to our opinion.  But not only do I think this movie is accurate but it was beautifully portrayed by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who I hope both get Oscar nominations.  But before you (rather you are black or white) develop an opinion about The Help,  read the book and see the movie.  I promise you will not be disappointed. 

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