The Help Reviews
Clarke's review was very positive. In my opinion, because the was everything that she mentioned, sentimental, hilarious, heart-felt and it grosses history for sure! This critic's observation enhanced my own analysis of the film because I totally agree. Watching this film made me laugh,cry,angry,disappointed but most importantly it made me think about my past. Made me think about if this was me and how I would have responded to those issues back then.
Atkinson's review was negative. In my opinion, it probably is because he did not like that it was sentimental issues that was made fun of. He feel that white people were put in the middle of racial issues and the destruction of black people and their lives (in that time period) His observation enlightened my analysis of the film because I did not see things the way he did. His observation definitely made me view things from his perspective with an open mind. Although I read his review, I do not agree with him. I think that the world needs to see these issues head on. Yes, these type of films aren't the easiest to talk about because they are a replica of history. Our history. Some people don't like to rehash the issues of our past. The issues and problems were and still are true. When we know more, we do more. When we know more, we do better. We have to discuss these issues in order to grow from them. Why not do it in a funny way.
Originally written on Aug. 24, 2011--
Southern society girl Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) returns from college during the Civil Rights era in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi, with dreams of being a writer. She turns her small town on its ear by choosing to interview the black women---such as Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer)---who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families as their maids.
This remarkably poignant and powerful film exposes the ugly stain of racism that each white and black person was faced with on a daily basis during the early 1960's in the Deep South. By writing her infamous book, Skeeter makes enemies of the white women whose appalling treatment of their black maids she chronicles. I agree with what Tom Long from The Detroit News remarked about the film: "Appealing, entertaining, touching, and perhaps even a bit healing, The Help is an old-fashioned grand yarn of a film, the sort we rarely get these days."
One thing I didn't particularly like about the film was the inconsistency of the acting. Viola Davis's performance is undeniably incredible. She's a caring women that's been broken by the loss of her son and constant harassment by white people, but she has brief moments where she has a beautiful wide grin and giggles at something or has an intimate moment with the daughter she's hired to take care of. She shows a woman in pain that still has life in her and I really liked that she was willing to sacrifice herself to try to help herself and her people. Emma Stone is also great, but I don't know how if any Southern girl would've been as progressive as her. Her mother has a very rewarding turn at the end and a lot of the other maids give strong performances. The antagonists in the film have no range, though. They are thin, undeveloped characters. The main "villain" wasn't like a nice girl who had a racist, unaccepting side. She was a total bitch who demeaned everyone and acted very superficial. She had no depth, it felt like something out of Mean Girls or another high school melodrama. The immaturity of a lot of the women was irritating. The other superficial wives were annoying and unrealistic too, but they're designed to be petty.
It's also interesting how focused the film is on underrepresented groups. Most films focus on males and this film is almost entirely focused on women. Not many films have such dynamic, interesting female performances and even fewer focus on the struggles of African Americans, so I think if nothing else, that should be appreciated. Few films have the courage to do that.