Adapted from a bestselling book, The Help tells the story of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, Aibileen Clark, and Minny Jackson – three women whose unlikely friendship sets in motion the plight of black maids in 1960s Mississippi. The movie weaves the lives of both the black and white women of one community in a way that’s both heartbreaking and uplifting.
Drenched in soft southern sunlight, the film suspends beautifully in the muggy Mississippi air, hanging in the tense balance between emotion and history. The Help is both moving and funny, mostly because of a stellar cast that includes the busy Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney, and the supremely underrated Viola Davis (from Doubt). And just when you think the story is going to take a turn toward the obvious, it turns back.
Who knows when it became uncool for movies to have happy endings – the kinds of movies that make you feel better about life and your ability to change the world – but with any luck, The Help will set a trend worth emulating. --Lydia Munnel
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