The Help

The HelpHelp_poster

Wow.  That’s what I need to say about this movie.

I was reluctant to see this movie at first.  I cited the worst moniker around: “chick-flick”.  But, I wised up and started to pay attention to what the film was about.  Let that be a lesson to all you “guys” because this film is incredibly worthwhile!

The Help” is about a book.  It’s the story of a young author that decides to tell the story of life in Mississippi in the 1960s, but not from the well-do white women’s point of view.  It is instead told from the view of the help.   Now, I don’t need to extrapolate on what exactly that means, but I will stress that the timeframe for the setting of this film would not have worked in any other situation.  I guess I kind of knew that from the trailer, judging by how people were dressed, but it didn’t really sink in.  I will also say that in a most fortuitous turn of events, I just recently watched “the Ghosts of Mississippi” on TV not long ago.  That helped me gain a better understanding of events that would play out in “the Help”.

First of all, any film that deals with the issue of segregation in America in the 1960s is bound to strike a nerve.  For many of us, that issue never touched our lives because we lived too far away.  I myself grew up in an area where I did not even meet a member of another race until I was in high school, really.  I always looked at this issue at arms-length, because what did I really know about it?  In school, you begin to grasp some of its importance.  In college, it really starts to strike home.  That’s how it went for me.  In this day and age, when I see such stories played out in film and television or even a theatre, I think of two incredibly important men.  What a strange country this is, that 2 great men like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King were killed for supported a principal inherent in all that America stands for.  All men are created equal.  Another way I like to think of it is “equality for all, or none”.

Now, I bring this up because this film is poetic, poignant and very compelling when talking about this issue.  It is displayed with sensitivity and brutality – all at the same time.  Oh, there’s humor to much of it as well.  But I was truly affected by the performances in this film.  These actresses were all STUNNING in their roles!  As a long-time watcher and predictor of Oscar-worthy performances, I can say without hesitation that “the Help” will be nominated for the following: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costuming, Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain), and Best Actress (Bryce Dallas Howard). THAT is how good this film is and THAT is some incredible talent at work in this film.  Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if “the Help” stomps all over the Golden Globes as well this year!

There are parts of this story that are universal and very heartwarming, and some other parts that just reach you on a personal level.  For myself, I loved the relationship between Miss Minny and Celia Foote.  It was powerful, deftly handled by the director, and those actresses nearly stole the movie!  But let’s not overlook Emma Stone as the young author or Allison Janney as her mother; these are great roles for both of these fine actresses.  Their relationship was so well done!  I cannot overstate how impressive the entire cast was in this film!

So, in summary, I HIGHLY recommend “the Help”.  This will win Best Picture hands down – and if it doesn’t, I will eat crow.  A superb story, a top-notch job by the entire cast, great directing, and just an overall fantastic movie, “the Help” is my pick as Best Film of the Year.

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE

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