The Help 2011

The Help

Critics Consensus

Though it fails to fully engage with its racial themes, The Help rises on the strength of its cast -- particularly Viola Davis, whose performance is powerful enough to carry the film on its own.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 227

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 107,883

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Movie Info

In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns her small town on its ear by choosing to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families. Only Aibileen (Viola Davis), the housekeeper of Skeeter's best friend, will talk at first. But as the pair continue the collaboration, more women decide to come forward, and as it turns out, they have quite a lot to say.

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Critic Reviews for The Help

All Critics (227) | Top Critics (53) | Fresh (173) | Rotten (54)

Audience Reviews for The Help

  • Mar 27, 2016
    It may be a bit simplified, yes, but thanks to strong performances, a unique visual style and witty dialogue the film is both engaging and entertaining - and an important film for this day and age.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2014
    Another discrimination story with overflowing Hollywood sentimentalism, The Help is an absolutely predictable film that goes by the book, placing cardboard cuouts of white characters (aka the antichrists) and the black characters (aka the victims) in a manipulative drama of plain ordinary proportions and unsurprising outcomes with some thought-provoking arguments in between, but yet with formulaic storytelling elements throughout. In going by the book, everything turns out predictable and never takes any risk. Ironically, taking no risks was a huge risk by itself, almost a guarantee that it was going to be a failure. That is a shame, given that this is a very valuable story that appeals to today's society even if laws have "changed". What the film does good, however, is to transmit its main message despite its one-sided nature, and to deliver solid performances. It had been easy to forecast positive stardom light for Viola Davis' future since she stole everybody's breath with one single scene in Doubt (2009) with spectacular talent. It is no surprise, therefore, that she was given the opportunity to have a leading role in a thematic drama, and she does a job that defied expectations along with a very talented cast despite the flat characters. Octavia Spencer is the second highlight, delivering lines with style and good timing, and light humor in a refreshing way. Both actresses know the importance of acting, both in the terms of "transmitting" and "reacting". Easy Oscar bait that ignores the importance of the so-called "developent" of civil rights and the important black figures that propelled such revolutionary movement (but conveniently referencing it briefly), the events and the content of the film are forgettable, but not its story nor its black characters, who keep suffering today. 55/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2013
    Aside from the last fifteen minutes which *really* pile on the treacly sentimentality, this is a pretty decent adaptation of a very good book, with a smashing performance from Jessica Chastain.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2013
    The Help is aided by strong personalities but ultimately falls short of being a great picture with overly sentimental moments and a slight glossing over of a tragic period in American life.
    John B Super Reviewer

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