Sunday, 26 February 2012

White People Are Bad.

There are so many films based on a very simple premise: One person goes against the convention to help a minority. We've seen it in Avatar, Dances With Wolves, Pocahontas and many, many more. A common way to portray this is with a historical story of a white person helping an ethnic minority despite society frowning upon it. That’s what The Help is.

Skeeter (Emma Stone) lives in Mississippi in the 1950s. She lives in a society where ‘coloured’ people are inferior and work as maids and gardeners to make their keep. She’s just got a writing job, writing a cleaning column for a local newspaper and asks her friend Elizabeth (Ahna O'Reilly) if she may get advice from her maid Aibileen (Viola Davis). As Skeeter grows close to Aibileen she realises how terribly Aibileen and her best friend Minny (Octavia Spencer) are treated by their employers, especially by Elizabeth’s friend Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard). She decides she will write a book about being a maid in a racially unfair society from the perspective of the help. She starts interviewing Aibileen and Minny about what it is like working for Elizabeth, Hilly, and Minny’s new employer Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain). The book has to be written secretly as the interviews are against Mississippi law but Skeeter carries on regardless.   

I only chose this photo because I love Emma Stone.

There is not a single bad performance in this movie. Emma stone is absolutely outstanding in her main role. A different role to what we're used to from her. She is strong and just generally a good actress. If there wasn't such strong competition for Best Actress, she'd have a nomination. But the real stars here are Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. Both of them take roles of characters in a very difficult time in history. A time where it is hard to put yourself in that position and imagine yourself suffering in the way that minorities did then. They both deserve an Oscar statue in their hands. The bit that really won me over for Viola Davis was a moment when a negro man is shot and the fear slowly creeps up on Aibileen until she's running in blind panic. I was utterly convinced by her performance. All of the supporting cast were fantastic as well. Jessica Chastain was stunning as the enthusiastic but self concious Celia Foote begging to be liked by the rest of her society. 
The help's jobs also including dragging their employers home.

 The writing is witty and charming but also entirely heartfelt and touching. The only issues I have with this film are ones involving the technical elements being a little to cliché and generic. I would like a little more riskw with my story but otherwise I have very little else to say. A generally good film that I would definitely recommend to all. 

Best Bit? Skeeter's mother's scolding of Hilly. Classic and uplifting. 

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