The Help


The Help

Critics Consensus

Though arguably guilty of glossing over 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.



Total Count: 224


Audience Score

User Ratings: 107,624
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Movie Info

The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny-three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. -- (C) DreamWorks

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Emma Stone
as Skeeter Phelan
Viola Davis
as Aibileen Clark
Bryce Dallas Howard
as Hilly Holbrook
Octavia Spencer
as Minny Jackson
Jessica Chastain
as Celia Foote
Ahna O'Reilly
as Elizabeth Leefolt
Anna Camp
as Jolene French
Eleanor Henry
as Mae Mobley
Emma Henry
as Mae Mobley
Chris Lowell
as Stuart Whitworth
Cicely Tyson
as Constantine Jefferson
Mike Vogel
as Johnny Foote
Sissy Spacek
as Missus Walters
Brian Kerwin
as Robert Phelan
Rian Kerwin
as Robert Phelan
Wes Chatham
as Carlton Phelan
Allison Janney
as Charlotte Phelan
Aunjanue Ellis
as Yule Mae Davis
Ted Welch
as William Holbrook
Shane McRae
as Raleigh Leefolt
Roslyn Ruff
as Pascagoula
Tarra Riggs
as Gretchen
Leslie Jordan
as Mr. Blackly
Mary Steenburgen
as Elaine Stein
Carol Lee
as Pearly
Ashley Johnson
as Mary Beth Caldwell
Don Brock
as White Bus Passenger
Nelsan Ellis
as Henry the Waiter
David Oyelowo
as Preacher Green
La Chanze
as Rachel
Dana Ivey
as Grace Higginbotham
Becky Fly
as Woman in Grocery Store
Cleta Ellington
as Donna the Receptionist
John Taylor
as Missus Walters' Date
Charles Cooper
as Tire Winner @ Ballroom #1
Lady Diana Cooper
as Tire Winner @ Ballroom #2
Coyt Bailey
as Party Guest
Wade Cottonfield
as Lead Singer of Band
Kelsey Scott
as Sugar Jackson
Amy Beckwith
as Bridge Club
Sloane Fair
as Bridge Club
Anna Jennings
as Bridge Club
Lauren Miller
as Bridge Club
Elizabeth Smith
as Bridge Club
Kathryn Ursy
as Bridge Club
Steffany Ward
as Bridge Club
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News & Interviews for The Help

Critic Reviews for The Help

All Critics (224) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (170) | 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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