The Help is a proper film filled with vintage wallpaper of laughter and tears. It has broad appeal for a chick flick. Because these are ladies you can live with beyond the 137 minutes of the film.
Tate Taylor found an unwanted manuscript – an uncut diamond – bought the rights, wrote the screenplay, and directed The Help. It was a stunning directorial debut. Set in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, The Help is based on a bestseller by Kathryn Stockett.
The movie follows writer Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone), a young white woman who must crack the glass ceiling of racial segregation to write a book about black women who care for white children, cook, clean, scrape and bow before their white employers. Skeeter gets the idea of writing about the city’s black career maids and housekeepers from their vantage point; black women inform her novel story.
That goal may sound innocent but in Jim Crow Mississippi it is against the law. So the women must proceed with caution. Skeeter is the aspiring newbie writer in search of something to write about. She is also new to how blacks and whites must conduct themselves in polite southern society.
The young maverick creates her own opportunity when she begins to ask questions about her nanny and maid (Cicely Tyson) who suddenly leaves the household. Her mother is mum on the subject. So Skeeter begins digging into the lives of other black maids she sees. Two maids: Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) and Abiliene Clark (Viola Davis) steal the show. They are best friends and leading ladies in this vibrant cast of characters.
One might ask do we really need another blacks-inform-whites about white supremacy as it affects their daily life in the Deep South. It seems so because The Help could help to carve out an inclusive niche for itself as well as future imitation.