At long last I was finally able to watch The Help, the movie based off the self titled book.  My boyfriend’s mum had it so we made that our Valentine’s Day movie.  Not a bad choice either.

I read The Help shortly after it came out in 2009, and I loved it.  If anyone’s interested, the link to my book review is here.  I have to use my review from Chapters rather than GoodReads because I couldn’t find my damned review…

The premise of both book and movie, is a young Caucasian woman in 1950s Jacksonville Mississippi wants to become a journalist, and in order to do so she has to write something truly groundbreaking.

Now this is of course set in the time of the Civil Rights movement, two short generations after slavery has ended, but the times have not changed yet, of course.  As we all know, African Americans were treated worse than second class citizens by their Caucasian landlords, employers, co workers, etc. etc.  We all know that story, so I’m not going to go into it too much.

The only thing is, the main character Miss Skeeter, does not look at the African American maids employed by her friends and family the same way others do.  She sees them as people with thoughts, feelings, and opinions of their own.

As a result, she decides to write stories about the lives of these maids, from their point of view.  She enlists the help of two maids: Abileen and Minny, and writes their stories, and then moves on to write the stories of all the maids in Jacksonville.

Enter conflicts with friends because Skeeter is essentially airing out all their dirty little secrets, the danger the maids face for being a part of this, and viola!  A heart wrenching, touching, and highly moving story about overcoming adversity, following your dreams, and doing the right thing no matter the cost.

Now first off let me say I have nothing bad to say about the move.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  I think they transferred the story quite nicely from the book to the film.  Usually there’s always something a bit lacking in the media transfer, but I personally do not see it here.

There was one thing that concerned me at first, and a few scenes that I thought would have been good to keep in the movie, but aside from that, all good.

The thing that concerned me was the portrayal of a character called Miss Celia.  In the book she’s a fairly dark character, strange and melancholy, and it’s all a big secret as to why at first, but when we find out the reason, it’s totally understandable.  Now when we first meet Miss Celia in the movie, she’s a bright, bubbly, almost vapid blonde and I was worried how that would carry over for me because I knew how the character was ‘supposed’ to be from the book.  But it actually worked out well.  She uses the bright and bubbly exterior to hide what’s going on inside, so that works for me.

Now one of the maids helping Miss Skeeter, Minny Jackson, is one of those ‘typical’ sassy African American women.  In the book and in the movie, she is married to a man Leroy, who is an abusive alcoholic.  Minny eventually comes to work for Miss Celia, and Miss Celia tells Minny after a night of being Leroy’s punching bag that she’d (Miss Celia) would give it right back to him if she were in Minny’s shoes.

In the book, Minny does just that.  One night after that talk, Leroy comes gunning for her, and she takes a skillet to him, essentially telling him he’ll get worse than cold iron upside the head if he goes after her again.  In the movie, she does change her circumstances right at the end, but we don’t actually see that scene of Minny standing up for herself and I think that would have been a great scene to keep in.

The only downfall one might notice is the lack of men in the movie.  I didn’t notice this, my boyfriend had to point it out to me.  And I can see where he’s coming from, it would have been nice to get more of a male perspective on some of the goings on in the movie as all the men are referred to and hardly ever seen except for Miss Skeeter’s boyfriend.  But it works for the movie.  The book was entirely from women’s points of view, the men were referenced and rarely seen, so while I see his point, I don’t think it’s a really big issue.

All in all, fantastic movie.  Looking forward to adding it to my own collection.

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