Special Photo: Dreamworks. Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis, attends to the needs of Hilly Holbrook, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, seated center, and her friends Elizabeth Leefolt, played by Ahna O'Reilly, left, and Skeeter Phelan, played by Emma Stone, right, in "The Help," based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett.
3 out of 3 stars
"The Help" will pull at your heartstrings with laughter and tears while addressing many social issues of its time. Set in 1960s Jackson, Miss., when black women raised white women's children while cooking and cleaning their homes for less than minimum wage, and yet were not able to use the family's bathrooms.
For some, the movie will be a sad reminder of the truth. For others, it will be a history lesson not taught in a classroom. The story is encouraged by a young journalist after the disappearance of her own beloved maid that had raised her. "The Help" is told from the perspective of the women who crossed the line to tell their stories.-- Kelly Cain, Lawrenceville3 out of 4 stars
Before the Civil Rights Movement, everyday life in Mississippi had not changed. Boiling hot summer days are followed by humid evenings. Big plantations and farmland that required manual labor abound. This is the setting for "The Help."
The film's story reveals life from that of a privileged group of young women. As the viewer becomes more engrossed in the story line, many secrets are divulged. We learn of the women behind the socialites life: the hired help. The hired help who work several hours many days of the week to care for the families of those favored. The hired help whose own families needs become immune to those of the elite.
Viola Davis (Aibileen) and Octavia Spencer (Minny) perfectly portray their characters. The entire cast including Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson and Sissy Spacek bring wisdom and humor to a somber period in our nation's history.-- Ann Vian, Lawrenceville3 out of 4 stars
Whenever a novel strikes a nerve with a large number of people, its big screen counterpart is generally met with both anticipation and trepidation. In this case, I think director Tate Taylor did a respectable job of bringing "The Help" to life while trying to stay loyal to Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name.
Based in 1960s Mississippi, "The Help" is the story of black maids working for wealthy white families at a time when the Civil Rights Movement was still in its infancy, and segregation and abuse were still the norm. Some of the stories will break your heart while other stories make you laugh out loud but most importantly ... they make you feel.
The truth isn't always easy, nor is it always pretty but as they say, "The truth shall set you free."-- Lindsey Hodges, Snellville