Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, The Help gives a fictionalized account of race relations during that time.
Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) wants to be a writer, but no one will take her seriously. She starts working on putting together a collection of stories from “the help.” The help being the African-American women who work in the households of wealthy white families, cooking, cleaning, and raising their children. The stories are about the day-to-day experiences of these women and their interactions with their employers.
Of course, none of the wealthy white families want a book published. There is backlash against African-American families for sharing the stories. Skeeter’s own family isn’t sure what she is doing is right. Even Skeeter’s boyfriend, Stuart (Chris Lowell) shuns her when he finds out.
If Skeeter and the maids can muster up the courage to finish the book, they could shake things up in this small town.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to watching The Help. And, continuing with the honesty, I had no idea what it was about.
After watching it, I have to say, this is really kind of an important story to tell. Not that it’s at all factual, I’m sure. But just to remember where we were not all that long ago. Our 11-year-old watched it with us. She didn’t understand how or why people would treat each other that way. How they could be so mean. (Frankly, I don’t know.) We explained to her that’s just how society was then.
The Help is nominated for a few Screen Actors Guild Awards, some Golden Globes, and Critic’s Choice Awards. And those nominations are well deserved. The actors really give you a feeling of what times were like in the 60s. Or, at least, how my mind pictures they were from stories and accounts I’ve heard (seeing as I wasn’t alive at that time). The writing is excellent in getting the story across, while still throwing in enough humor to keep the likes of me entertained at the same time.
The movie probably isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for hardcore action or a goofball comedy, I have no idea how you ended up with this movie in your hand. But it’s definitely worth a watch. And you’ll never look at chocolate pie the same.