Monday, December 26, 2011

The Help - DVD Review


Starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, Chris Lowell, Mary Steenburgen, Mike Vogel, Brian Kerwin, Aunjanue Ellis, Anna Camp and Nelsan Ellis.
Directed by Tate Taylor.

The story begins and ends with Aibileen (Viola Davis), a long-time maid in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi. She's been raising white kids her entire career while suffering the condescending racism from her employers. She runs into Skeeter (Emma Stone) an aspiring writer who comes back home from college and is furious to learn her family's maid Constantine (Cicely Tyson) had been fired. Skeeter looked at Constantine as the one who really raised her, and she starts thinking about a story, a book about the injustices suffered by "the help."

Now this is not a Spike Lee tackling of racial turmoil. We don't see any burning crosses. This is more of a Fried Green Tomatoes-flavored take on the South. It's funny, it's touching, and it's buoyed by a great cast. Davis and Stone are stand-outs, as is Octavia Spencer as Minny, a maid with attitude who will suffer no fools when treated poorly. Also really good is Bryce Dallas Howard as the villainous Hilly, the town's central socialite, the main Heather.

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