Many films will be released this year that will have people saying 'Oh, they’ll do well on Oscar night’… well The Help is one film that will certainly feature on Oscar night, because this is one of the most important films to be released this year. And luckily the film ended up in the right hands, because this is one film that is guaranteed to emotionally affect its audience.
Taken from Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name, The Help follows a young journalist, Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan (Emma Stone), as she embarks on a journey to write a novel that will change the world. Tired of seeing the jealous and judgmental housewives of her town such as Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) mistreat black maids such as Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer), Skeeter uses the maid’s stories to expose the behavior to the whole world. However, along the way Skeeter realizes just how dangerous her book can be for the people involved in creating it.
Screenwriter/director Tate Taylor doesn’t pull any punches with this film. Yes, he shows the injustice that the black maids went through, but he also goes as far as showing Hilly's mistreatment of people such as Celia (Jessica Chastain) in such a way that the film takes a major swipe at bullying. This opens the film up to a completely different audience again and means that anyone who has ever been bullied in their lives will understand where the film is coming from. Taylor’s screenwriting is superb and his character development is so good that you will soon find yourself loathing Hilly and wanting justice to be served. Tate’s script will affect you emotionally - there's no escaping that. And it’s necessary, due to the subject at hand.
The big surprise in this film is Emma Stone. While many raved about her work in Easy A, it is a shock to see her do so well in a film that isn’t a comedy. Her performance shows that she is the real deal and along with her fellow cast members Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, she’ll certainly be amongst the contenders vying for the coveted Gold Statue on Oscar’s night. The other amazing performance is that of Bryce Dallas Howard. She plays an ‘evil’ character but the audience emotion she evokes is solid proof of the command of her craft and how good her acting skills really are.
The Help is a magnificent film, not only because it exposes past racial and social wrongs, but also because it offers a story of hope. The Help is a brilliant film that shouldn’t be missed.
Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer
Runtime: 146 mins
Rating: 5 Stars