REVIEW: The Help   Leave a comment

“The Help” is a  tale of how white employers co-exist with black servants in 1960’s Mississippi. The movie talks about how how trivial one’s skin color affects one’s perception of another. Based on the 2009 book of the same title, young woman Skeeter (Emma Stone) decided to make a book that features the experiences of black servants during their time. It was her way of acknowledging their existence, as provoked by how her friends treat their black servants with prejudice and disgust. If you have seen that before, think of  The Blind Side and replace Sandra Bullock with Emma Stone, and the Aaron Quintin with Viola Davis.

For what its worth, the movie is just fine. It’s more of a comedic with some dramatic scenes every now and then. However, this is no Best Picture material. The movie tried to insert everything it can; thus, resulting to a very lengthy 2 hours and 26 minutes. There are some story lines that didn’t go anywhere and could have been edited out of the movie altogether (Skeeter’s lovelife) to pave way for a shorter and more compact output.

Given that, the movie is elevated by the acting of the whole cast. The director managed to make each and every one from the cast stand out despite the differences in screentime. Take for instance the magnificent Cicely Tyson, who appeared in as much as the time that Ruby Dee did in American Gangster, yet she was still memorable in that very short scene. Alison Janney proved once again how she is one versatile actress who delivers one after the other whether in TV or in the big screen. Sissy Spacek is a personal favorite of mine, and she lights up the screen EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. She probably is the one I’m looking forward to see while watching the whole  film. Bryce Dallas Howard was effective in a predictable role, and gave justice to her role.

Emma Stone continues to have the best resume among young actresses in Hollywood. She nailed the performance of Skeeter with so much enthusiasm and optimism that her whole portrayal just  translates well to the viewers. Octavia Spencer is probably the crowd favorite roles as far as all the characters go. She was effective as the loud mouth and talkative Minnie, and while her loud scenes were undeniable, it was her silent acting after she sent her daughter to the bus that stayed with me the most. This is the type of performance that garners an Oscar mention, and here’s hoping Spencer gets one.

It’s a crime that Jessica Chastain only get discovered at this point in time. Chastain’s fun blonde with a heart role is also another favorite of mine, and here, she gets to add another layer to a been there done that role. She solicits a connection with the viewers that will make you root for her. This plus her Tree of Life performance show how versatile and how lazy Hollywood is in looking for the next best actresses. But above all, it is Viola Davis who sticks the whole movie together. I find her vastly overrated in Doubt, but her turn as Aibeleen is honest and raw that she commands the screen in all of her scenes. The dedication that Davis gave to her character is very well acknowledged. An Oscar is well deserved for her.

There are many LOL moments in the film, and is pretty much effective all throughout. I don’t get why black people screams at the film as “racist” only because it portrayed a white woman helping black servants when in reality, the black servants (such as Davis and Spencer’s roles) were pretty much a heroine of themselves as well.

Moving and enjoyable, indeed, but the movie  is still a throw back to a chick flick 60s style.

Grade: B+

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Posted September 5, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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