Movie Review: the Help

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“The Help”

An emotionally stirring movie taking place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, “The Help” stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer as three women who share a common motive. This racially tense setting creates the perfect foundation for a drama film such as this. The characters’ personalities in combination with the emotion of the plot develop a socially accurate depiction of the struggles faced by the people of the time. While the racial aspect of the movie is dominant, viewers may also find compassion and friendship within the conversations and encounters of its characters.

It is commonplace for white families to have black maids serving them at this time. Aibileen (Davis) is a strong-willed maid who is recovering from the loss of her son. She does her job well, and despite falling victim to rude comments and grueling tasks from her boss Elizabeth and her perky friends, she has taken care of seventeen children over the course of her career. Fresh out of college, Skeeter Phelan (Stone), a good friend of Elizabeth’s, seeks Aibileen’s advice when she is stuck writing a cleaning column for the local newspaper. These conversations ignite a fire in Skeeter- she has the idea of writing a piece telling the story of an everyday life from the viewpoint of the maids of Jackson. It takes some convincing because of the obvious risks, but Aibileen agrees after Hilly, the leader of the housewives, starts a petition to require separate bathrooms in homes for the maids. Pretty soon, Aibileen’s best friend Minnie (Spencer) joins in, and more follow her. These women embark on a journey that empowers each of them in different ways from this point on, making for dynamic characters that add excitement.

The costumes of this film were designed by Sharen Davis. The tailored dresses and suits that the men and women cast members sported were in perfect agreement with what was actually worn in the early 1960s. The Southern belles of this small Mississippi...
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