The Help

The Help

Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Academy Award® - nominated 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. 3.0 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
The Help

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama
Director Tate Taylor
Cast Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Mary Steenburgen, Mike Vogel, Allison Janney Emma Stone
Studio Walt Disney UK
Release Date October 2011
Running Time 146 mins
 

Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Academy Award® - nominated 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.

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

That The Help can take the incendiary issue of "separate-but-equal" bathrooms and spin it into a series of side-splitting gags without losing sight of the underlying pain of discrimination, represents a kind of comedy I thought Hollywood had forgotten how to do. You know, the kind that makes us laugh while going right to the heart of the matter, and comes as a blessed relief from the vapid raunch that has become the norm.

10/08/2011

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

The performance from Viola Davis as Aibileen, the black maid who first dares to tell her story, is probably the best you will see this year.

30/10/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Good films rarely feel like lectures, and the performances in The Help are so strong and so moving that the lack of any right-on Hollywood finger-wagging to distract from them is a blessed relief.

26/10/2011

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Time Out

Cath Clarke

Yes, it gets a bit sentimental. Yes, some ‘Ya-Ya Sisterhood’ friendship clichés creep in. Yes, it glosses history. But it’s also heartfelt, hilarious and the cast is a dream-team topped by Viola Davis.

27/10/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

It’s traditional, stodgy, overcooked and unadventurous. And yet it has a certain sticky, sweet appeal.

28/10/2011

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Empire Magazine

Anna Smith

All in all, it’s an exceptionally well-made drama with a quality cast, top performances, a moving story, fizzy dialogue and a keen eye for small-town social mores. It may be a tad patronising occasionally, but like its heroine Skeeter, it’s well-meaning and hugely likable despite its flaws.

24/10/2011

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The Evening Standard

David Sexton

The movie is very handsomely staged, moreover ... Yet The Help has intractable problems. By focusing on black maids working for white women, it gives a very partial account of race and segregation in Mississippi. Black men scarcely appear. Our liberal white heroine, Skeeter, helps those who, without her, would be unable to help themselves, once more.

28/10/2011

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The Guardian

Xan Brooks

Its moral universe is rendered in bright cartoonish strokes while its feisty journalist heroine is conveniently allowed to float free from the mores of a culture (specifically 1960s Mississippi) she has lived in all her life. Viewed as an airbrushed, Dettol-heavy fairytale, however, it's rousingly effective.

27/10/2011

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The Independent

Geoffrey MacNab

This material would surely have worked better in an HBO-style miniseries than in a one-off feature.

28/10/2011

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

Far too much of The Help resembles a po-faced version of Hairspray, a comedy that parodied the self-congratulatory smugness of movies like this, in which white people ‘discover’ racism and decide to cure everyone of it. Still, a lot of people are going to like The Help enough to ignore its crudities and unfulfilled potential.

28/10/2011

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The New Yorker

David Denby

It’s a good, fresh, morally complicated story, lusciously photographed, with many touching moments, but it’s weakened by an unconvincing revenge plot and by the insistence of the novelist Kathryn Stockett to place, in effect, a version of herself in a heroic and dangerous period, doing there what she actually did in a time of safety.

29/08/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

The stories of humiliation and exploitation the black women tell are deeply moving, and there's a fine performance by Viola Davis as Skeeter's main connection. But the movie is facile, not a little patronising, and it ends up as crude and sentimental.

30/10/2011

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Time Magazine

Mary Pols

Like Driving Miss Daisy, it paints a pessimistic picture and then steadily brightens it. It's easy to pick sides, easy to feel good about every educational mud pie in Miss Hilly's face. But there is nothing easy about Davis' uncompromising performance. She makes The Help impossible to dismiss.

10/08/2011

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The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

Like the novel, the movie is about ironing out differences and letting go of the past and anger. It’s also about a vision of a divided America ... Inside all these different homes, black and white women tend to the urgent matters of everyday life, like the care and feeding of children. And while every so often the roar of the outside world steals in like thunder, Mr. Taylor makes sure it doesn’t rattle the china or your soul.

09/08/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

An interesting and provocative story told in a broad, lachrymose fashion, The Help filters the harsh realities of the Civil Rights movement through the experiences of a white protagonist and, in the process, manages to transform a tale of struggle into a feel-good piece of fluff.

28/10/2011

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

[It] suffers from an obsequious lust for stereotypes. All white people are either spoiled honeybunches and all black people are motivational speakers. Being chock-full of broads, it makes sure to touch on domestic violence and serial miscarriages too and there’s a great deal of teary, spiritual agony.

28/10/2011

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