Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Help

I ended up sending roving reporter, Dani California, into the fray to see The Help. While my intentions were to get her review posted over the weekend, well, you know what they say about the best intentions being fraught with disappointment.

The Reel Rhiness herself is planning a post as well, discussing the differences between the book and big screen versions of The Help, but with the school year in full swing, that post may be delayed a few days. She is also trying to recover emotionally from the roller coaster of highs and lows that this film provided. I agree with that...and there's nothing worse than seeing a big man sobbing into his popcorn.

I absolutely loved this film.

It has rocketed triumphantly into my top 5 of the year thus far, and this is really one of the few times that I unequivocally put a film into the mandatory viewing category. The powers of film is the ability to learn from the mistakes of our past. Such an opportunity exists here, providing biting insight to the hardships faced by African Americans in the racially divided south during a truly hateful time in World history.

Mistakes...such an understatement for the topic at hand. This movie demonstrates, albeit it watered down a bit for the masses, the brutality and hate of the era. But really, the brutality demonstrated here is not so much about muscle, as it was the complete demoralization of a group of people.

As we celebrate the recent passing of the law allowing same sex marriages in the State of New York, it brings to mind that while we have made great strides for the equality of all people in America, we still have some tough roads to travel.

Westboro Baptist Church Protesting Kevin Smith's
Red State

Think of how many times in a day you hear something spoken, something posted online, some photo that brings to mind racism, sexism, discrimination, objectification, prejudice, or some other form of one group of people oppressing another.

I am a part time Catholic, but even in my scant appearances in the great cathedrals of the world, I have picked up this little unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Pretty true, regardless of who, what, when, and where. The why? Well the why is simple...because its the right thing to do.

The Preacher in The Help gave a sermon about doing what's right regardless of the possible struggles you may be making for yourself. This becomes the driving force of the stories that are the heart of this film. These maids did what was right, knowing the dangers it created in their lives and the lives of their family.

They did what was right. This film is courage in action....a measure of resolve at the testing point.

Go see The Help. 5 of 5 Horns from The Reel Rhino...

And now for Dani Californa...

My Friday night movie of choice was The Help. Having already seen 30 minutes or Less and being extremely disappointed, I needed something that would live up to my expectations and The Help definitely did just that.

For those that haven't heard anything about this movie and what it is about, this is what IMDB says:
"Set in Mississippi during the 1960's, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families."
Emma Stone is the leading lady followed by Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard. I adore Emma Stone, and I love the fact that she is playing a more serious role aside from her previous films like Superbad, Zombieland, and The House Bunny. Viola Davis shows you so much love and emotion that at times the movie brought tears to my eyes. She did such a fantastic job portraying a house maid of the era, I don't think anyone wouldn't feel the pain that she endured.

Bryce Dallas Howard is another amazing actress that performs so well, you just want to smack her throughout the entire movie. At least that's how I felt about her. Its a love-hate relationship with her in this love the performance, you hate the part. Octavia Spencer plays another of the main maid roles in the movie...Millie. She adds humor to the film that is a welcome relief from much of the weighty topics. But for her humor, she also has moments of great pain. Jessica Chastain plays the character of Celia Foote, who the women of Mississippi do not like much for reasons the movie will explain. She is such a sweet person, a little much to handle at times, but she means well. I honestly enjoyed every moment she was on screen.

I enjoyed this movie greatly. From the laughs to the tears, I wouldn't change anything. I am not up to date on my history, nor am I old enough to have experienced what it was like back then, but I am glad that for the most part, things are not that way any more. I give The Help 5 out of 5 Chili Peppers.

Until next time :) Dani California

Thanks Dani...I agree about everything you said. Especially about Emma Stone...she is adorable. She is this year's It-Girl and I am glad she is having her moment. This will likely be the first of many years into the future that she is so heavily applauded for her on-screen efforts.

Tate Taylor is a director to watch.  He has a longer resume as an actor than as a director and it seems his only other feature, Pretty Ugly People, sounds interesting. 

Also, Sissy Spacek was brilliant in The Help.  She became the focus of every scene in which she was on screen.  It's hard to believe that only 35 years ago, she played that telekinetically charged young woman who wrought havoc on her high school prom (Carrie).  While she is only 62, she felt older in Spirit, and perfectly wielded Southern charm.

Until later, do what's right in the face of possible pain...if we don't learn from our past, we are doomed to repeat it.

Reel Rhino

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