Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Help - Movie Review

It's beautifully shot. Every frame looks like a painting. Set in the 1960s in the Mississippi area during the Civil Rights era, when racism was still rampant in the US, it is the story of the indignities heaped on the colored help. The help are maids, colored women who live in a ghetto outside the town, wear uniforms and bring up white babies while their own children grow up with no mothers. Ironically most of the young mothers who hire them are babies who were raised by the help but they turn out to be exactly like their mothers in their outlook towards their help.

Based on a novel by the same name by Kathryn Stockett, we have a wanna-be journalist Skeeter (Emma Stone) who is struggling to find out what happened to her maid Constantine who disappeared one day without a good by after 29 years of serving the family. She wants to write a piece on the lives of the help and seeks information from the help - no one volunteers except one. Then we have vindictive families who think the colored people cannot use the bathroom in the house because they carry diseases. And then we have those who see no discrimination at all - Celia who prefers eating with her help. The Help is a fine story, delving into the psyche of the times gone by, the hardships of the colored people as they struggle to make a living and give their families the best, the courage and spunk, all shown beautifully. Great performances by Viola Davis, who is the first to volunteer information to the writer. She says so much with her eyes, her anger, her patience, her love, it sits in the room as if it were alive. And by Octavia Spencer who plays Minnie. Fine movie, worth watching. 

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