Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Help

The Help, 2011
Directed by Tate Taylor
Possible Nominations include: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song

Synopsis: Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up -- to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter's life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories -- and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly -- and unwillingly -- caught up in the changing times. (Source: IMDB)

I saw this film a while back, so you'll forgive me if I forget some things.
I remember coming across mentions of this film back in January. I had just watched Emma Stone in a movie, and wondered what else she was coming out in, and read about the Help. Then I read that it could be an Oscar Favourite. Then before it came out, I watched the trailer and was intrigued. So like the bookworm I am, I picked up the book and read it first, before going to see. I loved the book. Not knowing much about racism in the South, besides the little they teach in Canadian schools, I learned so much. Racism didn't make a whole lot of sense. And young Skeeter saw this.
I went to see the film with my mother on a Cheap Tuesday evening in early September. Yeah, 2 months ago, I know. I remember being a little nervous, because the book was so long, with several different story lines and characters that I wasn't sure how true to the book it was going to be. Being a Harry Potter fan, I become weary when a book becomes a movie because more often than not, it's not adapted well. But I must say, this one was.

The film was well done. They handled telling three different women's stories quite well. Skeeter's storyline was interesting, without making her too much the focus. You felt Aibileen's frustration and heartbreak, and you grow to love Minny, hilarious as she is, and also really sympathise everything she is going through- between caring for a "crazy white lady", having an abusive husband, and, well, being black in 1960's Louisiana. 

Additionally, this film was acted quite well. Viola Davis (Aibileen) is almost a lock for Best Actress, as well as Octavia Spencer (Minny) most likely being nominated for Best Supporting. Emma Stone, while her accent occasionally got away from her, held her own, this being (as far as I know) her first very serious role. Bryce Dallas Howard, was fantasticly evil, and brilliant.

Overall, I really liked this film. It's an interesting story, not too predictable, and educational. While it is likely to get nominated for Best Picture in 2012, it is extremely unlikely it shall win. As much as I liked it, I know it's not quite the Academy's sort of film, but we'll see when the show rolls around.

Rating: A-

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