Watching The Help

Posted on: 11/28/11 4:18 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The last 5 days provided several times to sit down together on the family couch and watch a lil bit of cinematic entertainment. The highlight of the weekend was definitely the film based on the best selling novel, The Help (I was sent a copy to review). Probably one of the best films I’ve seen in 2011.

This last week was one of the few years that we didn’t travel anywhere over the Thanksgiving holiday—kind of a nice change. Instead, we lit a fire, hung out with family, ate turkey, hauled out the Christmas decorations… and when we tired of all of that, we watched movies! I’ll be honest. When everyone asked, “What should we watch?” The Help was not my first vote. Alec and I, being men, had our eyes on something a little more manly (something with bullets, explosions… maybe even a few zombies…), but being outnumbered by the females in the living room, we consented on watching The Help.

10 minutes into the film Alec and I looked at each other, giving the “not bad” nod. By 15 minutes we were hooked!

The Help is funny, gripping and inspiring all the same.

We all loved it. I haven’t read the book, but my wife and my youngest daughter have. The two of them kept commenting about how the book went into a lot more detail (as books always do), but loved the film as well. I’m curious to read the book now.

The performances were spectacular. Emma Stone really proved herself as “Skeeter,” as did Viola Davis as “Aibileen.” But I think I was most impressed with two other actresses, the first being Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter).

It was probably difficult for Bryce to take on the role of the mean-spirited… scratch that… racist pig, Hilly Holbrook. Bryce was amazingly despicable. Bryce has so much range that I hardly recognize her in many films. I think I first noticed her as the blind Ivy Walker in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village in 2004. M. Night must have loved her too, because he used her again for the lead role in Lady in the Water in 2006. A year later, I hardly recognized Bryce as the blonde heartthrob who Spiderman ends up saving from falling to her death in Spiderman 3… and that’s just it… she’s always completely different, and utterly convincing.

The second actress that wowed me was no-name Octavia Spencer in her role of Minny Jackson. Most people won’t recognize Octavia other than some teenagers who might remember her as the nurse in Halloween II or the “troubled woman” in The Soloist. But now, everyone will remember her as Minny Jackson. Minny was the icing on the cake in The Help.

I loved the film, my family loved it, and our movie review guy Todd loved it in his review of the film a few months ago (complete with discussion questions).

If you haven’t seen it, the DVD/BluRay will be released on December 6th. This is definitely one to watch with the whole family. (Be warned, there is one scene where someone uses the word “sh*t” literally in reverence to fecal matter in a comical way. It is referred to a couple times throughout the film. If you have young children that like to repeat things they hear, use discretion.)

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2 Replies to “Watching The Help”

  1. Jessica Chastain totally nailed her part. Never even heard of her before, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win an Oscar.

    1. I agree, she really nailed it. It didn’t hurt that she played such a likable character (Celia Foote). My daughter was raving about her character from the book and was pleased with the way Jessica pulled it off.

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